Monday 18th Jun, 2018

Fast rail projects get federal business case funding

Michael McCormack (middle-left) and Paul Fletcher (middle-right) announcing the fast rail funding at Nambour, Queensland. Photo: Twitter
Michael McCormack (middle-left) and Paul Fletcher (middle-right) announcing the fast rail funding at Nambour, Queensland. Photo: Twitter

$20 million in federal funds will go towards the development of three business cases for the provision of fast rail projects in NSW, Queensland, and Victoria.

The successful proposals include a Sydney to Newcastle line upgrade, submitted by the NSW government; a new Melbourne to Shepparton link, submitted by Consolidated Land and Rail Australia (CLARA); and an improved link between Brisbane and the regions of Moreton Bay and the Sunshine Coast, proposed by the North Coast Connect Consortium.

All three were submitted last year and subjected to a competitive assessment process that determined their potential to substantially improve the efficiency of rail links between key regional centres and major cities.

The Queensland government has welcomed the announcement of federal funds for the North Coast Connect project and has itself contributed $5 million for its business case for the duplication of the rail line from Beerburrum to Nambour.

“The Palaszczuk Government will provide this business case to the North Coast Connect consortium as an in-kind contribution – worth $5M,” a statement from QLD’s transport and roads minister Mark Bailey said.

“We look forward to working with them on the development of their business case for North Coast Connect.”

The project proposed by the North Coast Connect Consortium would involve an upgraded rail connection between Brisbane and Nambour, along with the development of a new rail spur to Maroochydore. It is estimated that, with the completion of the project, the travel time between Nambour and Brisbane can be reduced from approximately 2 hours to 45 minutes, with travel between Brisbane and Maroochydore also taking 45 minutes.

The NSW government’s Sydney-Newcastle business case will investigate options to quicken travel between the two cities, with works potentially involving reductions of track curvature and deviations, track realignments, removal of level crossings, junction rearrangements, and improve freight and passenger service segregation. Estimated travel time reduction is from 3 hours to 2 hours.

CLARA consortium’s Melbourne-Shepparton proposal seeks to develop a new dedicated fast rail corridor, reducing travel times from approximately 3 hours to 32 minutes.

The three business cases are expected to be delivered over the next 12 months and will then be subject to dependent assessment by Infrastructure Australia.

  • Step O’Rafferty

    I think the CLARA proposal for the Melbourne – Shepparton corridor would most likely reduce the current travel time of 2 hours 30 minutes to 2 hours. A 32 minute 360 km/h journey between Melbourne and Shepparton would be wonderful but I don’t think it will happen in the near future!

  • Neil Hamilton

    Simple – Build a pair of grade separated / elevated tracks for exclusive use of passenger trains with passing loops at the minor stations to allow express trains to progress unhindered. Most of the passengers will be using the “Local Trains” for short trips between stations along the track. Intercity Passengers using the “Express Trains” with stops at major stations along the route. Freight trains using their own set of tracks.
    Run high capacity passenger trains (8 cars at night and 16 cars in the daytime) The intercity trains currently in NSW and W.A. can do 200 Kph when the tracks are suitable: which means 877 Km from MEL to SYD should take 4hrs 20min. Speeds of 300 Km should be possible if sharp curves are removed: this would reduce the journey to 2 hrs 55 mins. .
    Elevated tracks means farmers and towns people will be able to freely go about their business whilst trains every 10 minutes pass along the tracks.
    Similar set of figures for Sydney to Brisbane and Adelaide to Melbourne.

  • Grumpybear

    It is a mystery to me how North Coast Connect think they can get a 45
    minute transit time to either Nambour or Maroochydore uniless they build
    a very expensive new route out of Brisbane. Right now the best timing
    from Brisbane Roma St to Caboolture is 45 minutes (Rockhampton tilt, AM
    departure) or 50 minutes (Gympie North commuter service, 5:45PM
    departure). To get the time down to 45 minutes right through to Nambour
    or Maroochydore is going to require a completely new alignment out of
    the city, very limited stops, and some quite high speed running.

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