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Six months ahead of schedule, the caverns for Sydney's Martin Place metro station are officially complete and most people are "completely clueless" they are even 23 metres below their feet.
Six months ahead of schedule, the caverns for the Martin Place metro station are officially complete.
"I think it's amazing to think anyone walking up and down Martin Place would be completely clueless as to the caverns that are below their feet. Some 23 metres below ground," NSW Transport Minister Andrew Constance said.
"Hardly anyone's noticed."
It has taken nearly two years to excavate the enormous caverns that will eventually house the metro platforms.
The twin caverns lie underneath Castlereagh and Elizabeth streets and are 220m long and 14m wide.
About 126,000 tonnes of sandstone has been removed to make way for the stations.
The Sydney Tower can be spotted from the escalator shaft out of the station.(Supplied: NSW Government)Mr Constance said it was the first time in 50 years that train tunnels had been built under the CBD.
"These big holes in the ground are going to be transformed over the coming years into a world class metro," he said.
The caverns will now be fitted out with electronics and signalling systems and track work for the driverless metro trains.
Martin Place Station will eventually connect the completed North West metro (from Chatswood to Rouse Hill) with the South West Metro line (Chatswood to Bankstown).
Mr Constance said the network would boost trains services from 120 to about 200 during the morning peak.
More than 600 workers have been completing work on the caverns in recent months.(Supplied: NSW Government)"People will have no need to drive, they'll have no need to own a car because they'll just be able to get on this metro," he said.
"We're transforming the city into a true global city with a metro train and that's the exciting thing about this project."
Nine tunnels have also been built to provide pedestrian access for commuters and to link to the existing Martin Place Station on the Sydney Trains network.
The final cost of the metro project won't be determined until all the contracts are finalised and the Martin Place station is slated to open in the 2023/24 financial year, with testing expected to commence in 2023.
Sydney Metro is Australia's biggest public transport project and by 2024 Sydney will have 31 metro railway stations and a 66 kilometre standalone metro railway system.
The excavation of the caverns was done with tunnel boring machines nicknamed Mum Shirl and Nancy.
Mum Shirl who was a prominent and widely respected Wiradjuri woman, social worker and humanitarian activist committed to justice and welfare of Indigenous Australians.
This article first appeared on www.abc.net.au
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