Else, the first of Brisbane’s Cross River Rail’s two 7.2m diameter Herrenknecht TBMs is now underground in the Woolloongabba site’s station cavern ready for launch later this month, and will only re-emerge later this year after it has finished tunnelling under the Brisbane River and CBD.
The milestone marks the start of Cross River Rail’s year of tunnelling in 2021, and was marked by a traditional indigenous blessing ceremony to wish TBM Else and the tunnellers safe passage as they make their way underground.
TBM Else will not see the light of day until she emerges from the project’s northern portal at Normanby towards the end of the year.
Cross River Rail’s sister machine – TBM Merle – will follow shortly after to ensure the project’s twin tunnels are completed before the year is out.
The TBMs will excavate the bulk of Cross River Rail’s 5.9km of twin tunnels under the Brisbane River and CBD.
The TBMs will tunnel through 20 to 30m of hard rock a day, with a crew of up to 15 people working on them at any one time.
From Woolloongabba, the TBMs will tunnel under the river and break through to Albert Street station at a depth of 31m in mid-2021 and continue to Roma Street before emerging at the project’s northern portal at Normanby.
The TBMs will line the tunnels with 25,000 precast concrete segments, weighing 4.2 tonnes each.
The $5.4bn Cross River Rail is a new 10.2km rail line from Dutton Park to Bowen Hills, which includes the 5.9km of twin tunnels under the Brisbane River and the CBD and four new underground stations at Boggo Road, Woolloongabba, Albert Street and Roma Street.
The Tunnel, Stations and Development public-private partnership ‘PULSE’ is delivering the underground section of the project.
The PULSE consortium is led by CIMIC Group companies, Pacific Partnerships, CPB Contractors, and UGL with international partners DIF, BAM and Ghella.