Sydney Metro West project is set to gather pace as two tunnel boring machines (TBMs) have been ordered to build the city’s next metro rail tunnels, according to an official announcement.

The first machine will be ready to go underground before the end of this year.

The order was placed as part of the $1.46bn (A$1.96bn) Central Tunnelling Package that was awarded to the Acciona Ferrovial Joint Venture (AF JV) in July last year.

Germany’s Herrenknecht will design, build and provide the TBMs. The company was selected by AF JV after an international tender process.

During a week, each TBM will tunnel an average of 200m and will be operated by a team of 15 employees per shift.

These machines will dig the 11km twin metro rail tunnels between The Bays and Sydney Olympic Park.

Sydney Metro states that these are the first two of six TBMs that will be deployed for the development of the 24km tunnels from the Sydney Central Business District (CBD) to Parramatta.

With a 165m-long double-shield, the two borers are 1,266t, hard rock, gripper-type TBMs. These have the ability to excavate through sandstone and shale.

Besides, the machine designs were enhanced using the experience from constructing over 30km of tunnels for Sydney Metro Northwest and City & Southwest.

In June last year, Sydney Metro West project commenced the planning procedure for the construction of nine new stations between Westmead and Hunter Street in the Sydney CBD.

This driverless metro rail route will link Greater Parramatta and the Sydney CBD, doubling the rail capacity.