A graceful entry

• Grace breaks through to the Bayswater dive structure, face first.

‘GRACE’ has come to Bayswater.

The Metronet tunnel boring machine nicknamed ‘Grace’ on Tuesday (February 18) emerged face first from a 7.4km subterranean crawl that started in July 2017.

Grace and another machine dubbed Sandy have been boring twin tunnels from Forrestfield to link Bayswater with the airport, dipping as low as 27 metres underground to duck under the river.

The machines have also installed thousands of concrete rings along the way to shore up the tunnels.

Grace had a head-start on their snail-paced race, which is the longest rail tunnel ever attempted in WA, and Sandy is due to finish in May.

The first trains are set to run through in the second half of 2021, and take 20 minutes to make the trip between the eastern foothills, Perth airport and the CBD.

“Where once there was dirt, sand, rocks and tree roots, now sits the foundation for our new railway,” premier Mark McGowan announced on February 18.

Grace and Sandy were designed in Germany for the Metronet project. Grace was named after Edney primary school girl Grace McPhee, whose resilience while undergoing leukaemia treatment led her friends to describe her as the toughest kid they knew.

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