How to start Coalition rail plan fast
THE Beerburrum to Landsborough rail upgrade should be started immediately to complement the delivery of the Coalition's fast rail proposal for the Sunshine Coast, according to a commuter advocacy group which says what has been announced mirrors the former Bligh Labor government's undelivered policy objectives.
Bob Dow, of Rail Back on Track, said the Palaszczuk government forwarded the business case for the first stage of the Sunshine Coast Line upgrade, Beerburrum to Landsborough, to Infrastructure Australia in July 2017.
"We strongly support commencing this upgrade immediately as it will improve reliability and allow more trains to run through from Caboolture to Landsborough, thereby supporting a better service north to Nambour and Gympie," Mr Dow said.
"It would also allow more freight train paths.
"If a fast rail service is going to be implemented eventually the upgrade between Beerburrum and Landsborough will be needed."
Mr Dow said the fast train proposal announced this week was a sound plan but that it was critical that the North West Transport Corridor - also known as Trouts Road Corridor - was used to enable trains to run into and out of Brisbane quickly without getting caught up in the city's suburban network.
The link would avoid the main line Central to Strathpine and was the only way to achieve 45 to 60 minute travel times between the Sunshine Coast and Brisbane.
He said what is now proposed essentially follows what Labor announced as part of its Coast Link proposal nearly a decade ago.
Following a Growth Management Summit called by then Premier Anna Bligh in 2010 to address growing and significant concerns about the rate and pace of growth identified in southeast Queensland wide survey she commissioned, the government introduced an integrated regional transport plan.
Key projects to be delivered by 2031 included Cross River Rail, a heavy-rail Sunshine Coast line between Beerwah and Maroochydore and the upgrade and realignment of the north coast line between Beerburrum and Landsborough.
None of those projects, including the extension of the Gold Coast line to Coolangatta, have been delivered.
Sunshine Coast Environment Council spokeswoman Narelle McCarthy, who attended the summit, said this region and the whole southeast had continued to see unchecked population growth coupled with the non-delivery of the infrastructure needed to service it.
She described what has been proposed this week as having merit but hinged too heavily on urban commercialisation.