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Queensland fires starter’s gun on faster rail

The Queensland Government has committed an additional $1.121 billion to deliver faster rail services between Brisbane, Logan, Beenleigh and the Gold Coast.

As the first piece of Olympics transport infrastructure, Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said the major project would see more tracks laid and level crossings removed to support faster, more frequent train services.

“Delivering new transport infrastructure that that will create jobs and ease congestion are central to our COVID Economic Recovery Plan,” she said.

“As we plan and build for the Olympics, this project is all about making sure people spend less time commuting and more time at home with their families and enjoying our great Queensland lifestyle.

“We’ve seen significant growth in South East Queensland over the last two decades and we expect this to continue with an extra 1.2 million people living in the region by 2036.

“My government is committed to seeing transport times between the Gold Coast and Brisbane reduced, as we continue to see the population increase in key suburban areas along the rail corridor.”

The Premier said the project had potential to create about 900 jobs.

“Today we’re calling on the Federal Government to match our additional $1.121 billion funding commitment to ensure we can deliver this important project for the people of Queensland,” she said.

“To ensure South East Queensland can continue to grow, we must keep evolving our rail network so it plays a bigger role in moving people from A to B.

“We continue to see progress made on the transformational Cross River Rail project, which today’s investment will complement – meaning faster, more frequent journeys.”

Queensland Labor
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk (second from right).

Transport and Main Roads Minister Mark Bailey said trains between Kuraby and Beenleigh currently share a single track in each direction.

“We are limited in the number of peak services we run each day, but by duplicating the track between Kuraby and Beenleigh stations, we can increase capacity through the region,” he said.

“Local motorists will also benefit with five level crossings to be removed and nine stations will be upgraded – vastly improving the amenities available to local commuters.”

Since March 2018, Infrastructure Australia has included ‘Gold Coast rail line and station improvements: Kuraby to Beenleigh’ in the Infrastructure Priority List and the South East Queensland Regional Transport Plan identifies an upgrade of the Kuraby to Beenleigh section of the rail network as a priority action.

The move has been welcomed by the Australasian Railway Association (ARA) , with Chief Executive Officer Caroline Wilkie saying faster rail would have a transformative impact on the region.

The ARA’s Faster Rail Report, released in 2021, confirmed the need for urgent action to deliver faster, more reliable and more frequent services between capital cities and regional centres.

“Investment in faster rail on routes like Brisbane to Gold Coast will make it easier for people to leave the car at home for their daily commute or weekend away,” Wilkie said.

“It will not only speed journey times, but increase flexibility for customers by enabling more trains, more often along the route.

“The global experience tells us faster rail drives urban renewal along the rail corridor, creating the opportunity for new housing and business precincts beyond capital city centres.

“With the Olympics just around the corner, faster rail will help showcase the very best Queensland has to offer and drive new development and growth long after the Games are over.”

Consumer research conducted by the ARA in 2021 confirmed 75 per cent of Gold Coast residents surveyed would travel to the city by train if it took the same or less time than driving. The survey also highlighted the growth opportunities that came with investment in faster rail, with 78 per cent of Gold Coast participants believing faster rail links would make moving to the region more attractive.

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