Project Spotlight: Cross River Rail

Cross River Rail

AECOM, Aurecon, cimic, CPB, cross river rail, GHD, Jacobs, Laing O'Rourke, Martinus Rail, queensland, Queensland Rail, UGL,


Cross River Rail is a new 10.2km rail line from Dutton Park to Bowen Hills, which includes a 5.9km tunnel under the Brisbane River and city centre.

The $7.7b Cross River Rail project is Queensland’s biggest public transport project and aims to alleviate congestion in Brisbane’s growing rail network. It will allow trains to run more frequently by delivering four new underground stations at Boggo Road, Woolloongabba, Albert Street and Roma Street. Two additional stations will be upgraded during the construction phase.

This will allow Southeast Queensland to better cope with the demand for rail services, which is forecast to triple by 2036 due to the huge population growth. The transport capacity across the river will double with additional train services and encourage car users to use rail services instead of unclogging major arterial roads.

Construction of the River Rail project began in 2019 and is expected to be completed by 2025. Services to passengers will commence in 2026.

Cross River Rail funding

The $7.7b Cross River Rail project is funded through an initial capital contribution of $5.389 billion and finance of $1.499 billion secured through a Public Private Partnership.

An additional $848 million of state government funding was announced on 31 March 2023 concerning pressures around COVID and severe weather.

Cross River Rail contractors

The project will be delivered in partnership with the private sector through three major infrastructure work packages. 

Tunnel, Stations and Development Package

PULSE will deliver the Tunnel, Stations and Development (TSD) public-private partnership. The PULSE consortium is led by CIMIC Group companies, Pacific Partnerships, CPB Contractors, and UGL, with international partners DIF, BAM and Ghella.

This partnership will deliver the underground section of Cross River Rail.

Rail, Integration and Systems

UNITY Alliance will deliver the Rail, Integration and Systems (RIS) alliance. UNITY Alliance brings together CPB Contractors, UGL, AECOM, Jacobs, and partners HASSEL, RCS Australia, Acemna, Martinus Rail, and Wired Overhead Solutions.

The UNITY Alliance will deliver the design, supply and installation of supporting rail systems, integrate Cross River Rail into Queensland Rail’s train network, and upgrade the Exhibition Station.

European Train Control System

Hitachi Rail STS will deliver the European Train Control System (ETCS). The Sequence Alliance brings together Hitachi, Queensland Rail and the Cross River Rail Delivery Authority (CRRDA).

The Queensland Government is investing in ETCS, a technology that is a world-class train signalling system to add capacity and efficiency to Brisbane’s rail network.

Click here to read more about each infrastructure package’s scope of work.  

Cross River Rail Project Design 

Overall, the project involves:

  • A 10.2km rail line from Dutton Park to Bowen Hills in Brisbane
  • 5.9km twin tunnels under the Brisbane River and city centre
  • Four new underground stations at Boggo Road, Woolloongabba, Albert Street, and Roma Street
  • Eight rebuilt stations from Salisbury to Dutton Park and Exhibition station
  • Three new Gold Coast stations at Pimpama, Hope Island and Merrimac
  • A new signalling system

Underground Stations 

Boggo Road Station 

The Boggo Road Station will be 19m below surface level and have a 220m platform for future capacity. It will integrate with pedestrian connection walkways, cycle paths, Park Road train station, and business services to the University of Queensland and the Brisbane CBD.

It will stimulate the growth of the existing education, science, and health facilities for students, workers, and residents. When the station is completed, it will become South East Queensland’s second busiest transport interchange. Approximately 22,000 commuters will use the new station each weekday by 2036.

Woolloongabba Station 

The 220m long station platform will be approximately 27m underground, with multiple escalators and elevators to carry passengers from the platform concourse. Almost 18,000 passengers will use Woolloongabba station by 2036, with many more during big game days.

It will offer high-frequency train services, enhancing connectivity to The Gabba Stadium and the vibrant entertainment district of Woolloongabba.

Albert Street Station 

Albert Street Station will be the first Brisbane CBD train station built in over 120 years. It will be 31 metres below the street surface and connect over 67,000 passengers weekly from the 220-metre-long platforms to the street level.

The new underground Albert Street Station will serve as a critical access hub for pedestrians heading to QUT’s Gardens Point campus, the parliamentary precinct, Queen’s Wharf development, the upgraded Eagle Street business district, and the City Botanic Gardens. It will also provide convenient access to Elizabeth Street and Queen Street Mall.

Roma Street Station 

Once Roma Street Station opens to the public, it will become Queensland’s busiest transport interchange, with over 46,000 commuters expected to use the station every weekday by 2036.

This rail line will connect passengers with the current suburban bus and rail networks and regional and interstate bus and train services.  

Cross River Rail station rebuilds and upgrades  

A newly upgraded Exhibition Station will provide rail services to one of Brisbane’s fastest-growing suburbs. It will consist of two platforms for multi-direction travel and provide daily services, connecting to high-growth residential and employment areas.  

Seven stations in South Brisbane will be rebuilt, including Salisbury, Rocklea, Moorooka, Yeerongpilly, Yeronga, Fairfield, and Dutton Park. There will be increased station accessibility, such as new overpasses, lifts, kiss’ n’ ride infrastructure and bike facilities included in Cross River Rail’s proposed package of works.

Gold Coast stations 

As an extension of the Cross River Rail project, new stations on the Gold Coast line are being developed to enhance regional connectivity and support the area’s rapid growth. The three new rail stations on the Gold Coast line include Pimpama, Hope Island and Merrimac.  

Click here to read more about the new Gold Coast stations. 

Cross River Rail tunnelling 

Tunnel boring machines (TBMs) Else and Merle began digging a tunnel under the Brisbane River to Albert Street station in early 2021. Both massive TBMs weigh 1350 tonnes each and have advanced approximately 30m per day since the launch. A tunnelling crew of up to 15 people operate the TBM at any given time, seven days a week.

The cutter head has a 7.2-metre diameter and is designed to drill through rock harder than concrete, illustrating the machines’ capability to handle Brisbane’s challenging geological conditions. As they progressed, these TBMs generated 290,000 cubic metres of spoil to pave the way for the construction of Cross River Rail’s twin tunnels.

Cross River Rail benefits 

The Cross River Rail project delivers significant benefits beyond transportation improvements.

It stimulates economic growth by creating jobs during construction and boosting local businesses. Cross River Rail will create 7,700 jobs and 450 trainee and apprentice opportunities during construction, and over 1,500 Queensland companies have already benefitted as either suppliers or subcontractors.

The project also enhances the liveability of Brisbane by reducing congestion and facilitating smoother, more efficient commutes. Furthermore, it lays the groundwork for future urban development to align with broader city planning goals and support population growth.

Environmental considerations 

The Cross River Rail project has strongly emphasized environmental and sustainability considerations throughout its development. This commitment is reflected in incorporating green building practices, using energy-efficient materials and technologies, and the aim to minimize the project’s carbon footprint. Efforts have been prioritized to protect local biodiversity and waterways, responsibly manage waste, and reduce construction noise and air pollution. Additionally, the project is designed to enhance sustainable urban mobility, encouraging a shift towards public transport that reduces reliance on cars and contributes to lower emissions.

Cross River Rail project status 

Currently, construction for Cross River Rail is progressing across sixteen sites in Southeast Queensland.

With the successful completion of tunnelling in 2021, Cross River Rail has twin tunnels connecting the northern portal and the four underground stations to the southern portal near Dutton Park. Works on the underground stations have shifted to station builds, laying of rail, and mechanical and electrical fit-outs.

The rebuilding of the exhibition station is underway, and the accessibility rebuilding works at seven stations on the south side are also progressing.

Major construction is underway at the new Pimpama station, and early works are underway at Merrimac and Hope Island on the Gold Coast.

Last project status update: 22 February 2024

Source: © Cross River Rail Delivery Authority 2023

Image Source: © Cross River Rail Delivery Authority 2023

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