Major Projects & Infrastructure, Passenger Rail

Cross River Rail unveils tracker to mark launch of ‘TBM Merle’

TWO giant roadheaders are excavating the tunnels between Woolloongabba and Boggo Road in Brisbane.

CROSS River Rail’s second massive tunnel boring machine has been launched, meaning both of the transformational project’s mega machines are now busy burrowing beneath Brisbane.

Cross River Rail Delivery Authority CEO Graeme Newton said the 1350-tonne TBM Merle – named after pioneering feminist Merle Thornton AM – had now joined TBM Else, to excavate the project’s twin tunnels from Woolloongabba north towards Albert Street.

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

“With TBM Else and TBM Merle both now 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.

Newton, who recently toured the TBMs below ground with Minister for Transport and Main Roads Mark Bailey, said Cross River Rail had even launched a TBM Tracker on the project’s website, allowing the public to follow tunnelling progress in real time.

“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.

“The TBM Tracker shows where the TBMs and roadheaders are and how far they’ve come as they excavate the project’s 5.9 kilometres of twin tunnels below Brisbane.”

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 a computer or a mobile device,” he said.

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

Newton said the TBMs would first arrive at 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 on the project’s website.

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