Cross River Rail

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Cross River Rail
Type Commuter Rail
System Citytrain
Status Superseded by BaT Tunnel project
Locale Brisbane
Termini Dutton Park
Bowen Hills
Services Brisbane Airport line
Gold Coast line
Website Queensland Government
Owner Queensland Rail
Operator(s) Citytrain
Line length 5.4 km (3.4 mi)
Track gauge 3 ft 6 in (1,067 mm)
Cross River Rail
Exhibition line
Exhibition line
Roma Street
George Street
Brisbane River
Beenleigh line
Dutton Park
Beenleigh line

Cross River Rail was a proposed new underground rail line and busway in Brisbane, Australia. The project would have involved building a new 5.4 kilometres (3.4 mi) 14.8m diameter tunnel under the Brisbane River and the Brisbane central business district, creating two new underground inner city stations, and increasing the core capacity of the rail network.[1] According to the former Premier of Queensland, Anna Bligh the railway would have been the largest transport project ever built in Queensland[2] and was expected to cost around $5 billion.[3] The project has since been replaced by the planned BaT Tunnel.

Original planning[edit]

A report titled the 2008 Inner City Rail Capacity Study predicted that the demand for Brisbane peak train services would double by 2016.[4] Between Salisbury and Dutton Park the existing line is used by freight trains traveling to the Port of Brisbane and a terminal at Acacia Ridge, and the expected rise in the number of passengers services may interrupt freight services unless a new line is built. The Merivale Bridge is the only inner-city rail crossing in Brisbane, and by 2016 it was expected to be over capacity, leading the Queensland Government to plan for this project.[5]

Geo-technical surveys, and public consultation began in 2010[2] after funding for a feasibility study was provided in 2009 by the federal government.[6] A funding submission was made to the federal government in 2011 after a detailed environmental impact statement was completed.

Original design[edit]

The original plans for the project were released on 11 November 2010. The project included a 9.8 kilometres (6.1 mi) tunnel, two new surface stations as well as four new underground stations.[1] Upgrades to Moorooka railway station and Rocklea railway station were also proposed.[1] Underground stations were proposed to include retail facilities,[6] and a maximum of 120,000 passengers were claimed to be able to be moved during the morning peak period.[7]

The city station was to be built under Albert Street,[5] with two entrances and allowing for trains up to 200m in length.[8] Proposed stations at Woolloongabba and Exhibition were to be named "The Gabba" and "The Ekka" respectively.[3]

Yeerongpilly was chosen as the southern portal because it had less impact on residents than a tunnel entrance at Fairfield.[9] An entrance there would allow trains on the Ipswich railway line to use the tunnel via the Tennyson railway line.[9] It also allowed the existing rail yards at Clapham to be used as stabling yards, negating the need to build a new storage depot for trains elsewhere.

The tunnels would incorporate floodgates at the southern portal and at the Albert Street station to protect against flooding of the Brisbane River. Albert Street would also have entry points 7 m (23 ft) above the level of the 2010–2011 Queensland floods.[10]

First revised plan[edit]

In June 2012, the newly elected Government of Queensland announced plans for a scaled down version of the project estimated to cost $4.5 billion.[11] The revised plan excluded upgrades to existing stations and extra above-ground train lines south or north of the new tunnel. The revised plan was expected to be completed by 2020. Interim measures such as the removal of some seats to allow more commuters to stand have been proposed to avoid a commuter bottleneck expected by 2016.[12] Standard gauge interstate services have been rescheduled outside of peak hours to free up capacity on the dual gauge line to Salisbutry.[11]

Thirty-nine commercial properties were to have been resumed for the project, including the Royal on the Park hotel[13] and another nine properties in the central business district.[8] One hundred and five residential properties at Yeerongpilly were to have been resumed for the expansion of the Yeerongpilly railway station.[3]

Due to the reconstruction costs of the 2010–2011 Queensland floods this rail project was to be delayed by at least two years.[14]

Preliminary test drilling of the Brisbane River commenced in November 2011.[15]

Second revised plan[edit]

Main article: BaT Tunnel

In November 2013, the Queensland Government announced a further revised plan for the BaT (Bus and Train) project as an alternative to the previous Cross River Rail proposal. The revised plan involve a 14.8m external diameter (13.5m internal diameter) 5.4 kilometres (3.4 mi) tunnel to accommodate both a dual track rail line on the lower level and a two lane busway above. The cost is expected to be $5billion with construction proposed to start in 2015 and completion in 2021.[16][17] Citytrain patronage is quoted as having increased at an annual average of 3.4% between 2006–12, compared to an average annual population increase of 2.4% over the same period, confirming forecasts that the Merivale Bridge will reach capacity some time between 2016-2021.

The latest plan commences in the vicinity of Dutton Park station, with two new underground stations at Woolloongabba (adjacent to The Gabba) and George Street (in the CBD) adjacent to a proposed casino redevelopment site. The balance of the proposal involves the previously proposed underground station at Roma Street and the line connecting to the Exhibition line near Bowen Hills. The Underground stations will also be busway stations. The southern end of the busway is proposed to connect directly to the existing Eastern Busway, with the northern end to connect to the Northern Busway via a bridge over the railway and adjacent Inner City Bypass motorway.

The stations are proposed to have 175 metre platforms to cater for future seven carriage trains, and the peak hour headway of 2.5 minutes between trains gives a notional capacity of 24 trains per hour in each direction. This is proposed to facilitate an increase in Gold Coast line services by 80% when it opens, and is also stated as catering for the 'Hillcrest (New Beaudesert) line by 2031'. This proposed line involves converting the existing standard gauge line from the Acacia Ridge freight terminal (just south of Salisbury station) to dual gauge. Hillcrest is a suburb west of Browns Plains and north of Greenbank. The standard gauge line passes west of Beaudesert on its way to the New South Wales border, and re-establishment of the station at Bromelton may be what is intended by the term 'New Beaudesert line'.

No surface property resumptions are required under this revised plan. Dutton Park station was proposed to be closed, as it will need to be demolished as part of the project and the government stated that its patronage level of ~150 passengers per peak hour didn't justify the $150m cost to rebuild the station. Following public objections, particularly to the proposed walkways from Park Road station, 800 metres away (proposed to provide replacement access to the Princess Alexandra Hospital, the major facility adjacent to Dutton Park station), the government reversed its decision.[18][19][20][21]

The George street station is proposed to be built 48 metres below 63 George Street building on the corner of George and Mary Streets. The George Street building, which houses many state government departments, would be demolished.[22] The Woolloongabba station will be 38 metres below surface level, with the Roma Street station to be 31 metres below surface level.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c "About the project". Department of Transport and Main Roads. 11 November 2010. Retrieved 11 November 2010. 
  2. ^ a b Anna Bligh & Rachel Nolan (24 March 2010). "Major Milestone reached for Cross River Rail project". Ministerial Media Statements. Department of the Premier and Cabinet. Retrieved 11 November 2010. 
  3. ^ a b c Ursula Heger (11 November 2010). "Iconic Royal on the Park Hotel to be bulldozed for Brisbane Cross River underground rail". The Courier-Mail (Queensland Newspapers). Retrieved 11 November 2010. 
  4. ^ "Cross River Rail key to city's transport future". TransLink Transit Authority. 12 May 2009. Retrieved 11 November 2010. 
  5. ^ a b Tony Moore (13 July 2010). "Brisbane CBD's new underground station revealed". Brisbane Times (Fairfax Media). Retrieved 11 November 2010. 
  6. ^ a b Tony Moore (24 March 2010). "Underground shops 'could fund new Brisbane rail tunnel'". Brisbane Times (Fairfax Media). Retrieved 11 November 2010. 
  7. ^ "First underground train station for Brisbane". RailStaff Publications Limited. 13 July 2010. Retrieved 15 November 2010. 
  8. ^ a b Tony Moore (11 November 2010). "Major hotel to make way for cross river rail". Brisbane Times, Fairfax Media. Retrieved 11 November 2010. 
  9. ^ a b Tony Moore (15 September 2010). "Rail line to wipe out 66 properties". Brisbane Times (Fairfax Media). Retrieved 11 November 2010. 
  10. ^ "Flood protection". Department of Transport and Main Roads. 
  11. ^ a b Marissa Calligeros (20 June 2012). "Cross River Rail given green light, but on a budget". Brisbane Times (Fairfax Media). Retrieved 20 June 2012. 
  12. ^ Robyn Ironside & Brittany Vonow (20 June 2012). "State to 'buy some time' for public transport network in crisis as plans unveiled for cheaper Cross River Rail project". The Courier-Mail (News Queensland). Retrieved 20 June 2012. 
  13. ^ "New Brisbane cross-river rail details released". ABC News Online (Australian Broadcasting Corporation). 11 November 2010. Retrieved 11 November 2010. 
  14. ^ Daniel Hurst (28 January 2011). "Underground rail buried". Brisbane Times (Fairfax Media). Retrieved 28 January 2011. 
  15. ^ "River drilling begins on Cross River Rail project". Courier-Mail. 29 November 2011. 
  16. ^ Double-deck rail and bus tunnel proposed for Brisbane Railway Gazette
  17. ^ "Underground Bus and Train". Queensland Government Department of Main Roads. 2013-11-22. Retrieved 5 December 2013. 
  18. ^ "Brisbane's BaT project planning takes flight - but awaits funding" Railway Digest June 2014 pages 28-31
  19. ^ BaT changes include Dutton Park railway station and Victoria Park Queensland Government 25 June 2014
  20. ^ Queensland Government not closing Dutton Park train station for BAT Tunnel ABC News 25 June 2014
  21. ^ "Dutton Park station to remain" Railway Digest August 2014 page 14
  22. ^ Tony Moore (19 March 2014). "Brisbane transit tunnel named". Retrieved 10 April 2014. 

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