QLD Cross River Rail on track to begin tunnelling work early next year

Monica Gameng   |   November 24, 2020
img cr: Cross River Rail

Two massive tunnel boring machines (TBMs) for Cross River Rail are set to break ground at Woolloongabba early next year and Queensland businesses are giving a hand to prepare these TBMs. 

Over 100 local companies are helping prepare the 1,350-tonne 165-metre-long TBMs, which will be excavating the bulk of Cross River Rail’s 5.9-kilometre twin tunnels. 

“The Palaszczuk Government has a $51.8 billion infrastructure program that locks in jobs to support Queensland’s economic recovery. 

“More than 100 local subcontractors and suppliers are benefitting from more than $10 million in work to help get these TBMs ready,” Transport and Main Roads Minister Mark Bailey said. 

One of the local businesses that benefitted is family-owned company QIC Protective Coatings – based in Birkdale – who repainted the TBMs. 

So far, Cross River Rail has supported more than 2,400 workers. 

“The first TBM has been assembled and is going through its final checks this week, and the same process will be completed with the second machine next month. 

“Crews remain on track to launch the TBMs from the Woolloongabba station site early next year,” Minister Bailey said. 

From the Woolloongabba site, the TBMs will dig under the Brisbane River towards the site of the future Albert Street Station by mid-2021, then continue on to the new Roma Street Station and finally emerging at the northern portal in Normanby. 

While the TBMs are digging through hard rock, they will also be installing large 4.2-tonne precast concrete segments that will line the tunnels. 

cross-river-rail-tunnel-boring-machinesTunnel boring machines for Cross River Rail (source: Queensland Government - Media Statements)

Cross River Rail TBMs fast facts: 

  • Two TBMs are being refitted and refurbished at Herrenknecht’s north-side facility 
  • More than 100 local companies have been supporting Herrenknecht to prepare the TBMs, including QIC Protective COatings (Birkdale), LCR Group (Wacol), AC Hargreaves Pty Ltd (Seventeen Mile Rocks), C&L Tool Centre (Hendra), ShapeCUT (Carole Park) and Citi-steel (Darra) 
  • The TBMs’ back-up gantries have been repurposed from the Sydney Metro project 
  • Each TBM weighs 1,350 tonnes and is 165 metres long 
  • A crew of up to 15 people will work in a TBM at any one time 
  • The cutterhead weighs 106 tonnes and measures 7.2 metres in diameter 
  • It includes 39 cutting discs that exert up to 32 tonnes of pressure each 
  • TBMs will work at a rate of 20 to 30 metres per day 
  • At their deepest point the tunnels will be 58 metres below the surface at Kangaroo point, and 42 metres below the Brisbane River 
  • Each TBM is fully equipped with crew facilities, offices and toilets 
  • The TBMs have to be disassembled to be transported and it will take more than 40 truck movements to transport the TBMs to the Woolloongabba worksite 
  • The TBMs will generate 290,000 cubic metres of spoil as they make way for the twin Cross River Rail tunnels 

The Cross River Rail is a new 10.2 kilometre rail line that runs from Dutton Park to Bowen Hills and it includes 5.9 kilometres of twin tunnels under the Brisbane River and the CBD. 

This transport infrastructure project will be delivering a second river crossing that will relieve the bottleneck on the existing rail network as well as allow more trains to run more often. 

Cross River Rail will also integrate with new roads and bus services to allow for a turn-up-and-go public transport system across South East Queensland. 

Works are already underway at various sites across the project and major construction on Cross River Rail is due to be completed in 2024. 

Approximately 1,500 jobs each year will be supported over a five-year construction period including 450 new apprentice and traineeship opportunities. 

Source: Queensland Government – Media Statements; Cross River Rail (1, 2, 3

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Monica Gameng
As Felix's Marketing Assistant since 2015, Monica is responsible for researching and sharing new and progressing projects within the construction and mining sectors in Australia. It's no surprise that Monica has her finger on the pulse of Australian major projects given she has produced more than 1,000 posts. She truly is an industry expert.
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