Cross River Rail’s TBM Else emerges at Northern Portal after ten months


cross river rail, queensland,


The first of Cross River Rail’s Tunnel Boring Machines has seen the daylight, for the first time in ten months.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk praised the progress made on the transformational $5.4 billion Cross River Rail project, saying that the project was integral in delivering us the 2032 Olympic Games.

Deputy Premier Steven Miles said the significance of the 1350-tonne TBM Else’s breakthrough at the project’s northern portal today could not be understated.

“TBM Else has tunnelled 3.8 kilometres from Woolloongabba, under the Brisbane River to Albert Street and then onto Roma Street to emerge here at Cross River Rail’s Northern Portal.

“This tunnel will service new stations being built in more convenient locations, including the Brisbane CBD’s first new station in more than a century.

“It will mean quicker journeys and help ease congestion on our roads.”

Transport and Main Roads Minister Mark Bailey said the milestone marked the end of the tunnelling for TBM Else – named after trailblazing engineer Professor Else Shepherd AM.

“The TBMs have been an iconic part of this project, and today we acknowledge and congratulate the crews who made TBM Else’s journey below the Brisbane River and CBD a success,” Mr Bailey said.

“TBM Else will be disassembled and then lifted out of the northern portal piece-by-piece by the same 280-tonne gantry crane that lowered her into the Woolloongabba station box.

“Else has done a huge job excavating 155,000 cubic metres of tunnel, the equivalent of 62 Olympic swimming pools.

“Cross River Rail’s second mega machine – TBM Merle – will also breakthrough in coming weeks, marking an end to the project’s ‘year of tunnelling’.”

Education Minister and Member for McConnel Grace Grace said the project’s northern portal at Normanby was an impressive work site in its own right, with 40 workers making sure it was ready for the arrival of the project’s two mega machines.

“Crews have been working 24/7 to finish excavating the 12-metre-deep TBM extraction box, while also building the portal structure itself,” Ms Grace said.

“All up, 240 pre-cast roof components, each 18 metres wide and weighing almost 26 tonnes will be installed on site, which is where trains will enter and exit the twin tunnels when Cross River Rail is operational.”

Mr Miles said the $5.4 billion Cross River Rail project was an important part of Queensland’s future, with the state’s population continuing to grow rapidly. 

“With 88% of net interstate migration heading to Queensland in coming years, the next decade is about growth, and Games, and both will drive public transport demand.

“Soon, transport times will be cut down for those commuting into the city and Games goers will use these very tunnels to get to and from event precincts right across the South East.”

Source: Queensland Government

View the full media release here

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