Cross River Rail Project Update – May 2022


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A major milestone has been reached at the Cross River Rail’s Woolloongabba site, with concrete lining works in the station’s caverns now complete.

Woolloongabba Station taking shape

More than 20,000 tonnes of concrete was used to line the caverns over the past seven months, with the final pour taking some 18 hours.

With lining works now done, crews have shifted their focus to the back of house area, where the mechanical and electrical equipment used to power the station will be located.

Elsewhere at Woolloongabba, crews will soon start fitting out the station’s mezzanine level, while escalators and lifts are due to start being installed later this year.

The tunnels are also continuing to take shape, with the first section of track soon to be laid underground between our Woolloongabba and Albert Street sites.

Blink and you’ll miss the progress at Woolloongabba!

Exclusive new footage of record-breaking Cross River Rail site

Crews at our Albert Street site recently marked a huge milestone for the project, having fully excavated the 50-metre-deep station box.

The station box is now the deepest hole ever excavated in Brisbane – almost double the previous record of 26 metres set during Queen’s Wharf’s construction.

The engineering behind excavating such a deep hole in the middle of a bustling CBD is astounding – about 47,000 cubic metres of spoil was removed (equivalent to about 19 Olympic swimming pools), while 340 rock anchors, over 1,500 bolts and 4,500 cubic metres of shotcrete was used.

Given the significant depth, 19 massive steel propping beams – each weighing about 50 tonnes – were used to ensure the excavation was stable.

But words and numbers alone don’t really do this massive feat of engineering justice.

Five of the coolest machines bringing Cross River Rail to life

Cross River Rail is Queensland’s largest ever infrastructure project, and with that kind of scale, it’s fair to say a large range of heavy machinery has to be used.

Here’s a look at five machines that have been putting in the work across megaprojects to make Brisbane’s new underground a reality.

1. Tunnel Boring Machines

Tunnelling as deep as 42 metres beneath the surface of the Brisbane River was no small feat, but Cross River Rail’s pair of iconic Tunnel Boring Machines (TBMs) were specifically designed for the task.

Excavating twin 3.8 kilometres tunnels between Woolloongabba and Bowen Hills, these 165-metre-long, 7.2-metre-tall, 1350-tonne underground factories churned below Brisbane at a rate of about 30 metres a day, excavating some 310,000 cubic metres of rock during their underground journey.

2. Roadheaders

While the TBMs completed the bulk of Cross River Rail’s tunnelling, roadheaders were used to excavate the 900-metre section of tunnel between Boggo Road and Woolloongabba, as well as the four new underground stations.

Weighing in at 115-tonnes, the 22-metre-long machines use their rotating excavating head with metal picks, known as a ‘pineapple’, to dig around 60 tonnes of rock an hour.

3. Luffing cranes

Or the M2480D heavy lifting luffing crane to be exact!

Cross River Rail’s Boggo Road site is home to two of the strongest tower cranes in the world – named Jane the Crane and Cliff Hanger by students at nearby Dutton Park State School.

Capable of lifting 330 tonnes – equivalent to 47 African elephants – the 40-metre-high free-standing towers are being used to lift a range of materials required to build the new Boggo Road underground station, such as 20-metre-long beams for the station’s floor and roof, precast concrete, and escalators and lifts.

4. Gantry crane

A 280-tonne gantry crane played a key role at both ends of Cross River Rail’s year of tunnelling, lowering the TBMs into the Woolloongabba station box as tunnelling commenced, and lifting them out of the Northern Portal once their journey had finished.

Gantry cranes left in mid-April, after the last TBM pieces were extracted from the portal.

5. Micro TBMs

If Cross River Rail’s mega TBMs were too big for your liking, you’ll love the fun-sized micro TBMs.

With a diameter of 2.1 metres, the micro TBMs are under a third of the height of their bigger siblings, and were used to build new sewer and stormwater tunnels around the project’s Southern Area.

Source: News & Project Updates – Cross River Rail

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