Cross River Rail’s tunnel twins almost ready to go

Minister for Transport and Main Roads The Honourable Mark Bailey

Cross River Rail's tunnel twins almost ready to go

Queensland businesses are helping prepare Cross River Rail’s Tunnel Boring Machines (TBMs) to start tunnelling under Woolloongabba early next year.

More than 100 local companies are involved in preparing the 1350-tonne, 165-metre long TBMs that will excavate the bulk of Cross River Rail’s 5.9km twin tunnels.

Transport and Main Roads Minster Mark Bailey said the first TBM was undergoing last-minute checks at Herrenknecht’s northside facility before being moved to Woolloongabba.

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

“Whether it’s building transformational projects like Cross River Rail, upgrading the Bruce Highway around Cairns and Townsville, improving the Inland Freight Route, or delivering more than $1 billion in COVID-recovery stimulus road upgrades, we have a pipeline of projects across the state creating thousands of new jobs when they’re needed most.

“More than 100 local subcontractors and suppliers are benefiting from more than $10 million in work to help get these TBMs ready.

“A great example is family-owned QIC Protective Coatings in Birkdale, who repainted the TBMs.

“Cross River Rail is injecting more than $4 million a day into the local economy and has already supported more than 2,400 workers so far.”

Mr Bailey said the Cross River Rail project was moving into an exciting new stage.

“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,” he said.

“The TBMs will tunnel under the Brisbane River to Albert Street station in mid-2021, before continuing on to the new Roma Street station and emerging at the project’s northern portal at Normanby.

“At the same time as they’re making their way through hard rock, the TBMs will install massive 4.2 tonne precast concrete segments to line the tunnels.”

Tunnel Boring Machine fast facts:

  • Two TBMs are being refitted and refurbished at Herrenknecht’s northside 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)
  • More than 40 workers have helped refurbish the two TBMs’ gantries, assembling their shields and testing all their systems to make sure they’re ready to go
  • The TBMs’ back-up gantries have been repurposed from the Sydney Metro project
  • Each TBM weighs 1350 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 58m below the surface at Kangaroo Point, and 42m below the Brisbane River
  • Each TBM is fully equipped with crew facilities, offices and toilets
  • The TBMs must be disassembled to be transported
  • The TBMs will generate 290,000 cubic metres of spoil as they make way for the twin Cross River Rail tunnels.

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