AusRAIL, Market Sectors

Queensland reworking Cross River Rail

<span class="" id="parent-fieldname-description"> Queensland premier, Campbell Newman, has said the state government will now work out a new project to ease congestion on Brisbane’s passenger network, with a lack of funding from the federal government putting the current Cross River Rail plan out of reach. </span> <p>Newman said following the election: “We are currently reworking Cross River Rail.”</p><p>“We are turning it into a project that delivers lots more bang for lots less buck that solves just the rail issues but hopefully bus issues,” he was quoted by the <em>ABC</em>.</p><p>In 2012, the Newman government said it had reworked the former Bligh government’s original Cross River Rail plan, and would be able to deliver it for $4.5bn with federal funding, rather than the Bligh government’s $8bn price tag.</p><p>But now the federal Coalition have come into power, Newman says, the whole plan must be reworked and a cheaper alternative must be found.<br />&quotWe are actually working through the whole project again,” he said.</p><p>“I can assure you that we’ve stripped billions of dollars out of the project cost already &hellip That’s what we need to do to ultimately get it to the stage where the Treasurer, who’s watching intently, will be able to find some money somewhere so we can fund it.</p><p>“But we’re committed to the project,” he added.</p><p>His comments came immediately following the election, and on the same day that state minister for transport, Scott Emerson, reassured voters that the state would actually have more money to spend on major projects with Tony Abbott as prime minister.</p><p>He told local paper, the <em>Courier Mail</em>, that the difference between Labor and the Coalition’s varying funding models for federal roads amounted to “billions of dollars.”</p><p>“The good news for us is that we have a federal government that is committed to paying for 80% of our federal roads,” he was quoted as saying.</p><p>“The previous Labor government wanted us to pay for 50% of our federal roads&hellip With a federal Coalition in place with its commitments for them to pay for 80% per cent of federal roads, we have more money to spend on other projects like Cross River Rail.”</p><p>Contacted this week by <em>Rail Express</em>, Emerson’s office has yet to comment further on this issue.</p><p>The Australasian Railway Association (ARA) was keen to hear more information about how the state government planned to solve Brisbane’s transport congestion issues at a lower cost.</p><p>“There have been very few details about the project in the public domain,” ARA CEO, Bryan Nye, told <em>Rail Express</em>.</p><p>“It is touted as a cheaper alternative to Cross River Rail, which was costed at anywhere between $5 and $8bn (depending on staging and inclusion of complementary projects).”</p><p>The association says Brisbane needs immediate action, as its core rail network capacity is set to reach its limit between 2016-2018 due to the constraint of having only one CBD river rail crossing.</p><p>“The ARA made clear that whichever the way forward, this project will not work if it is separate to the rest of the network,” Nye continued.</p><p>“The new tunnel under the river must be joined to the network at the south and north, be able to carry existing rolling stock (both passenger and freight) and have underground stations in the CBD.</p><p>“In terms of cost, there isn’t any ‘low hanging fruit’ to make it cheaper without severely impacting on the usefulness of the project.”</p>