Cross River Rail Project Update

Cross River Rail project

cross river rail, engineering, tunneling,


Update of Cross River Rail Project – 2021 Progress

We first looked at the Brisbane Cross River Rail (CCR) project back in February 2019. Read our first blog covering this project here. There has since been over two years of early works and construction across several active worksites, making it the perfect time to revisit one of Australia’s biggest infrastructure projects and how far it has come.

Overview of the Cross River Rail project:

With the SEQ population increasing, the Cross River Rail project will relieve some of the pressure on the current transport networks. At the completion of the project, Brisbane will have an additional 10.2km rail line stretching from Dutton Park to Bowen Hills, including 5.9km of tunnelling under the Brisbane River and CBD.


The Queensland Government has determined four significant benefits that the CCR project will bring to the south-east corner, those being:

  1. Economic growth – The project will generate jobs across the region, supporting economic growth and employment for the state. It is estimated that the project will provide an average of 1500 jobs per year, which includes 450 training and entry-level opportunities. Additionally, the project is expected to return on investment of $1.41 for every $1 spent.
  2. Unlocking the bottleneck – With the Brisbane transport systems already nearing capacity, the CCR project will elevate this pressure by creating an additional line that crosses the river and increasing network capacity.
  3. A better commute – The South East Queensland population is expected to grow from 3.5 million to 4.9 million by 2036. A better commute is crucial for connecting the high-growth residential areas to the CBD and employment opportunities.  
  4. Transport integration – Providing a more reliable transport network for residents is a crucial focus for this project. The CCR project is the start of many other rail network growth opportunities, such as building new rail connections to the Sunshine Coast, Ripley and Flagstone.

Construction to date:

2017 – Early works began in August 2017. This included:

  • Geotechnical investigations
  • Subsurface public utility investigations
  • Baseline monitoring
  • Demolition works
  • Construction of the temporary Coach Terminal at Roma Street

2019 – Construction commenced towards the end of 2019.

Present – There are now major worksites established at:

  • Woolloongabba
  • Boggo Road
  • Albert Street
  • Roma Street
  • Exhibition/ RNA Showgrounds

Significant rail works are also underway, along with upgrades at stations between Salisbury and Fairfield. Additionally, site investigation works are underway at Merrimac, Pimpama and Helensvale North on the Gold Coast.

Woolloongabba Station Construction

Providing the much-needed direct access to The Gabba Stadium and local entertainment district, the Woolloongabba station will provide many passengers with regular services. It will become the staging area for the project’s TBMs and roadheaders.

June 2021 construction update:

  • Concreting and steel placement is underway in the fully excavated station box
  • TBMs have achieved a significant milestone, excavating under Kangaroo Point and Brisbane River
  • TBMs are nearing the halfway point of their journey
  • Roadheaders are south of the Pacific Motorway as they tunnel to the Boggo Road station site

Boggo Road Station Construction

The Boggo Road station is one of four new stations built as part of the project. This new underground station will become SEQ’s second-biggest transport interchange.

June 2021 construction update:

  • Excavation and earthworks within the station box is 91% complete
  • The northern cavern excavation is 32.8% complete
  • Two tunnel excavators have arrived and commenced tunnelling
  • Permanent drainage works have continued
  • The southern station wall scaffolding was complete

This month the workers at the Boggo Road station are expected to:

  • Install anchors, soil nails, shotcreting and ground support in the station box
  • Monitor 24/7 tower crane operation to construct the station and support tunnelling activities
  • Installing steel reinforcement and concrete for the station structure
  • Excavating the tunnel cavern located at the north of the station box and 24/7 tunnelling activities.

Albert Street Station Construction

Albert Street station will be the first CBD station built in 120 years and will dramatically improve the accessibility to Elizabeth Street and Queen Street Mall.

June 2021 construction update:

  • Station box excavation is 34% complete
  • Roadheader tunnelling has completed 84 out of 181 meters of excavation
  • 69 piles installed at the northern station entrance
  • Controlled blasting will occur to advance the excavation of Lot 1

Lot 1 construction for June – Main station entrance

  • Excavation and retention, including rock hammering, anchoring, drilling, and shotcreting
  • Concreting and installing formwork
  • Installing propping systems
  • Spoil removal
  • Controlled blasting
  • Site facilities adjustments.

Lot 2 construction for June – Tunnelling site, within the acoustic shed

  • Excavation using roadheader, rock hammer and controlled blasting
  • Spoil removal
  • Ventilation and tunnel services adjustments
  • Underground soil retention, including shotcreting and rock bolting
  • Concreting and installing formwork underground.

Lot 3 construction for June – Northern station entrance

  • Excavation and retention, including rock hammering, anchoring, drilling, and shotcreting
  • Geotechnical investigations
  • Spoil removal
  • Tower crane delivery and installation
  • Site facilities and gantry adjustments
  • Concreting and installing formwork.

Roma Street Station Construction

The new underground station at Roma Street will link passengers with the existing suburban bus and rail networks, the Brisbane City Council Metro services, as well as regional and interstate bus and train services.

June 2021 construction update:

  • 280 meters in length of the underground cavern has now been excavated
  • Removal of the bottom half of the cavern is now the focus to prepare for the TBMs arrival 
  • Excavating, concreting, and installing micro-piles beneath the Inner Northern Busway.
  • Loading and removing excavated material with trucks.
  • Inspecting and relocating underground services around the Roma Street construction site.

Cross River Rail Tunnel Boring Machines

Tunnelling for the CCR project started on 14 May, with the first roadheader commencing work at Albert Street.

The two Tunnel Boring Machines (Else and Merle) are currently heading north from where they started at Woolloongabba. They will make their breakthrough into the station caverns at Albert Street, Roma Street and finally at the northern portal.

Both TBMs, Else and Merle, have made it underneath Kangaroo Point and across the Brisbane River. They are now passing under the CBD close to arriving at the Albert Street cavern.

There is no doubt that completing the project will be great for Brisbane and the wider community. We look forward to following its progress and keeping you up to date along the way.

Follow the Cross River Rail project information and updates direct from their website here.

Source: © The State of Queensland 2021 and © Cross River Rail Delivery Authority 2021

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