Sunday Arts Magazine

27 Mar 2023

Making the Metro Tunnel

Art Exhibition, Sunday Arts Magazine, Visual Arts

Making the Metro Tunnel

The Metro Tunnel will forever change how people move around
Melbourne—for work, study, to connect with friends and family,
and to access sporting and cultural activities.
When it opens in 2025, the Metro Tunnel will create a new
end-to-end rail line linking Sunbury in the west to Cranbourne
and Pakenham in the south-east. From 2029 it will also link
to Melbourne Airport Rail, allowing Victorians to enjoy a rail
service to and from Melbourne Airport for the first time.
The Metro Tunnel is taking years to build, but ultimately the
design and construction period will be a very short part of the
project’s lifespan. This period provides an exciting opportunity
to capture the process of building this massive city-shaping
project through the lens of our talented artists.
In Making the Metro Tunnel artists explore large scale infrastructure
and machinery rendered delicately in thread, intricately in
cardboard and whimsically in ceramic form. The works in this
exhibition serve not only to show feats of engineering, but also
feats of artistry—bringing large scale environments to life on
a small scale.
Making the Metro Tunnel also features artworks commissioned
as part of the Metro Tunnel Creative Program’s partnership with
the Royal Botanic Gardens. The Creative Program has embraced
the project’s construction hoardings and developed them into
large outdoor art galleries with a revolving and engaging program
of work. By doing so, it has created new surfaces for artists
to showcase their work, maintaining the vibrancy and creativity
for which Melbourne is known.
We would like to thank all the artists who have taken part in this
exhibition and contributed to the Metro Tunnel Creative Program.
Your work and talent help make Melbourne the colourful city we
know and love.


Making the Metro Tunnel aims to explore and celebrate the
construction milestones of the Metro Tunnel Project, which has
been under construction in Melbourne for several years. The artists
in this exhibition have taken inspiration from archaeological digs,
heavy machinery and the aesthetics of worksites and workers’
equipment to produce their own portrayals of the project.
These works are on a small, intricate scale; contrasting with the
vast scale of the rail infrastructure project itself. This exhibition
offers a depiction of making the Metro Tunnel, through making art.

The Metro Tunnel Project is a large-scale rail infrastructure
project that will change the way people move around the state
of Victoria. It will deliver two new twin rail tunnels under
Melbourne, as well as five world-class underground train stations,
to accommodate the city’s growing population.
The project will create capacity for an extra half a million
passengers across the rail network in peak periods and connect
regional passengers to key education, cultural and employment
opportunities in Melbourne.
Four giant tunnel boring machines (TBMs) finished digging
the Metro Tunnel in May 2021. The 1,000 tonne TBMs spent
more than 18 months digging up to 40 metres below Melbourne.
They removed more than 600,000 cubic metres of rock and
soil—enough to fill the MCG 1.2 times.
But the Metro Tunnel is more than just a tunnelling project.
An enormous amount of testing needs to take place to make sure
that the new tunnels and stations can operate safely and reliably.
The project is now undertaking the massive task of finishing the
stations, laying the track and preparing the tunnels for opening
in 2025.


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