First of Cross River Rail’s twin tunnels complete

Published Thursday, 25 November, 2021 at 10:30 AM


Premier and Minister for the Olympics
The Honourable Annastacia Palaszczuk

Deputy Premier, Minister for State Development, Infrastructure, Local Government and Planning and Minister Assisting the Premier on Olympics Infrastructure
The Honourable Dr Steven Miles

Minister for Transport and Main Roads
The Honourable Mark Bailey

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

The mega project is one of many being delivered by the Palaszczuk Government and is an important part of the state’s COVID-19 Economic Recovery Plan.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk praised the progress made on the transformational $5.4 billion Cross River Rail project.

“This project was integral in delivering us the 2032 Olympic Games,” the Premier said.

“At the centre of this project is 5.9 kilometres of twin tunnels under the Brisbane CBD.

“To have one of two tunnels already complete is a great coup.

“We’re investing in major infrastructure projects like this one to create jobs, ease congestion and plan for the future.

“Cross River Rail will take thousands of cars off the road throughout southeast Queensland and will make it quicker

and easier to commute in the River City.”

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.

“To have one of the TBMs finish its journey today is a massive milestone,” Mr Miles said.

“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.

“By unlocking the congested inner city rail network, Cross River Rail will transform how we travel throughout South Eastern Queensland.

“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. 

“Major infrastructure projects backed by the Palaszczuk Government are creating jobs and rebuilding Queensland’s economy,” he said.

“Pumping more than $4 million a day into the economy, this critical project is helping drive Queensland’s economic recovery from COVID-19 and was key to securing the 2032 Olympics.

“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.”


Media contact: Courtney Thompson 0433 585 570