Queensland, Rail industry news (Australia, New Zealand), Fast Rail, Track Construction

Funding announced for direct Sunshine Coast line

The Queensland Government is full steam ahead on the Direct Sunshine Coast Rail line, fast-tracking $5 million to further develop design and planning.

The money will fund geotechnical investigations between Beerwah and Birtinya, to help construct what will be the longest rail spur line in South East Queensland. One third of the initial 19km rail line will be built on viaducts and 10 bridges – crossing roads, creeks and the Bruce Highway.

The project team will also install ground water monitoring wells and conduct further environmental investigations. This process will ensure environmental impacts are properly assessed and any impacts mitigated.

It will also seek to reduce track curves which are integral to allowing trains to travel faster for longer.  83 per cent (or 15.8km) of track between Beerwah and Caloundra stations, is designed to allow speeds of 140km/h or faster. This is what enables passengers to travel between the Sunshine Coast and Brisbane at least 46 minutes faster.

The Queensland Government will also start directly engaging with the construction industry on the tender process for Direct Sunshine Coast Rail line.

Bart Mellish, Minister for Transport & Main Roads said the project is a gamechanger for transport.

“It’s a significant opportunity for Queensland businesses and local suppliers to contribute to this critical infrastructure project,” he said.

“The market sounding and industry engagement process will look at the capacity and capability of businesses to do the work required to bring the Direct Sunshine Coast Rail Line to life.

“This important step will tell us more about when shovels can get in the ground and when we could potentially see the first trains operating from Caloundra to Brisbane.

“We want to hear from Queensland businesses and work with them to seize the opportunity the Direct Sunshine Coast Rail Line represents for the future of transport in South East Queensland.

“The Miles Government has a detailed plan for this project and $2.75 billion in funding of funding on the table.”

This crucial next-step, known as market sounding, ensures companies have the expertise, workforce capacity and readiness to deliver the massive, multi-billion dollar rail project.

The Department of Transport and Mains Roads (TMR) has also launched an online portal for businesses to register for upcoming industry engagement sessions. The sessions will provide companies the opportunity to learn more as the project progresses. Contractors and suppliers who register will also get regular updates tailored to their industry.

Direct Sunshine Coast Rail is expected to support thousands of local jobs and create a pipeline of opportunities for the region. Procurement will be guided by the Buy Queensland policy to help ensure local businesses benefit from the project. Buy Queensland has seen more than $64 billion invested in Queensland-registered businesses, since 2017.

Direct Sunshine Coast Rail will revolutionise travel, providing a fast and reliable alternative to car trips between the Sunshine Coast, Moreton Bay and Brisbane regions.

A trip from Brisbane to Caloundra during peak is an hour faster than the car, helping reduce congestion on the Bruce Highway and local roads across the Sunshine Coast.

The Miles Government has committed $2.75 billion in funding to deliver Stage 1 of the project from Beerwah to Caloundra, subject to matched funding from the Federal Government.

The TMR industry engagement portal is separate to a formal expression of interest to undertake work on the project, which will be announced in due course.

Businesses can now access the online portal at www.yoursay-projects.tmr.qld.gov.au/direct-sunshine-coast-rail

Fast facts:

  • The Direct Sunshine Coast Rail Line is a proposed 37.8km rail extension between Beerwah and Maroochydore to increase public transport opportunities and improve connectivity to Moreton Bay, Brisbane and beyond.
  • Stage 1 will deliver 19km of rail between Beerwah and Caloundra (over halfway), with possible delivery of Birtinya by 2032 pending procurement activities and advice from leading engineering and construction companies.
  • The business case evaluated technical requirements for the full rail line including 7 new stations (including a proposed future station at Beerwah East), 17km of structures, a 1.2km tunnel at Little Mountain and 2 new stabling facilities. 17km of elevated structures accounts for over 40% of the corridor.
  • The business case has determined an optimal realignment of the corridor between Beerwah and Maroochydore, which enables rail speeds of up 160km/h. The current trains can and do travel 140km/h, their maximum speed.
  • The new corridor will be protected in 2024.
  • Over 80% of community feedback received during community consultation in 2023 was supportive of the Direct Sunshine Coast Rail Line project, helping inform the business case.