Real-world virtual tunnel training

In an Australian-first, Victoria’s Tunnelling Centre will deliver virtual training to North East Link workers simulating experience of operating and working safely below ground.

The facility is the only one of its kind in Australia and serves to upskill the massive pipeline of tunnelling workers required to deliver Victoria’s extensive tunnelling projects this decade. In all, the number needed is around 31,000 construction jobs.

For in-house training, the VTC includes a replica mined and a replica rail/Tunnel Boring Machine Tunnel with a full-height entrance. There are also a tunnel shaft and concrete lining spray simulators, TBM cutterhead, refuge chamber and four-motion bridge and gantry crane.

While tunneling is now complete on the Metro Tunnel and the West Gate Tunnel is nearing completion, the attention has shifted to the next big tunnel, the North East Link. The North East Link’s tunnels and freeway are due for completion in 2028.

Thousands of workers will be needed to build the new 6.5-kilometre tunnels from Watsonia to Bulleen and the Victorian Tunnelling Centre (VTC) at Homesglen Institute in Chadstone is playing a key role.

More than 4200 North East Link workers including tunnelling specialists and construction workers have already completed the virtual reality training.

Image: The VTC during its construction.

About the author

Desi Corbett

Desi is the Editor of Concrete in Australia and at the helm of our magazine for 8 years. She was behind the Institute's weekly news bulletins from 2016-2021 and is now writing our focused news items. Desi has been an engineering news and features journalist/editor across all disciplines since 2013 - part of a 30-year career writing for a wide range of industries.