AUSTRALIA: The Queensland government announced a new alignment for the Cross River Rail project in Brisbane on April 7, and said it was establishing the Cross River Rail Delivery Authority to implement the proposed 10·2 km rail link. An updated business case based on the new alignment is due to be completed in mid-2016, and construction is expected to take five years.

The revised route would branch off the 1 067 mm gauge suburban network north of Bowen Hills and follow the existing Exhibition Loop to an interchange under Roma Street station. It would then run south below the city centre and through a 5·9 km tunnel under the Brisbane River to serve Wooloongabba, before joining the Gold Coast line at Dutton Park. There would be five underground stations, including Albert Street in the city centre and an interchange to the Cleveland line at Boggo Road.

‘Cross River Rail is not only a critical infrastructure project but also a once-in-a-generation opportunity to reshape Brisbane through this major city-making initiative’, said Acting Premier Jackie Trad. ‘With South East Queensland’s population set to grow to 4·9 million by 2036, Cross River Rail is the state’s number one infrastructure project to boost network capacity in the region and unlock economic opportunity and productivity for our state.’

The CRRDA will seek federal, state, local government and private funding. The state government is working with advisers KPMG and Clayton Utz to finalise a preferred delivery model.

The alignment replaces an earlier plan for a 5·4 km double-deck tunnel with a twin-track railway on the lower level and a two-lane busway above.