Track Cross River Rail’s mega machines

A new online tool has been launched on Cross River Rail’s website so the public can follow the project’s mega tunnel boring machines in real time as they dig the Project’s twin tunnels beneath Brisbane.

Cross River Rail Delivery Authority CEO Graeme Newton said TBMs Else and Merle – both weighing in at 1350-tonnes – were excavating the project’s twin tunnels from Woolloongabba north towards Albert Street.

Meanwhile, two 115-tonne roadheaders were excavating the tunnels in the opposite direction from Woolloongabba towards Boggo Road.

“With TBM Else and TBM Merle on their way north, and the project’s roadheaders excavating south, Cross River Rail’s year of tunnelling is well and truly underway,” he said.

Mr Newton said the project’s new TBM Tracker showed the project’s TBMs and roadheaders as they excavated the project’s 5.9 kilometres of twin tunnels, including how far they had already travelled.

“While progress on the transformational Cross River Rail project might be obvious above ground, what might not be appreciated or understood is just the sheer scale of work taking place beneath our feet,” he said.

Mr Newton said each TBM was equipped with trackers and sensors which fed technical information to the project team in real time.

“We’ve been able to use the data the TBMs send us to add the TBM Tracker to our website, which can be viewed on either your computer or your mobile device,” he said.

“It means you can check out where our TBMs are, wherever you are, as they journey under the city.”

Mr Newton said the TBMs would reach Albert Street mid-year, before continuing to Roma Street and finally emerging at the project’s northern portal at Normanby before the end of 2021.

“Our TBMs are like underground factories – they’re 165 metres long and not only are they excavating the project’s twin tunnels, but they are lining the tunnels walls with 25,000 concrete segments along the way,” he said.

Cross River Rail’s TBM Tracker can be found here.

Two construction workers walking through a concrete lined tunnel. Yellow ventilation ducting is installed overhead

Tunnel Boring Machine fast facts:

  • Cross River Rail’s two TBMs are named in honour of two groundbreaking Queensland women – trailblazing engineer Else Shepherd AM and pioneering feminist Merle Thornton AM;
  • Each TBM weighs 1350 tonnes and is 165 metres long;
  • A crew of up to 15 people will work in a TBM at any one time;
  • TBMs work at a rate of 20 to 30 metres per day;
  • The TBMs will install 25,000 concrete segments weighing 4.2 tonnes each along the tunnel walls as they go;
  • At their deepest point the tunnels will be 58m below the surface at Kangaroo Point, and 42m below the Brisbane River;
  • Each TBM is fully equipped with crew facilities, offices and toilets;
  • The TBMs will generate 290,000 cubic metres of spoil as they make way for the twin Cross River Rail tunnels.