Our ‘Get on Board’ campaign to transform rail on the Sunshine Coast is making huge headway with $390 million federal funding for much-needed rail duplication and capacity upgrades.
The Federal Government will provide $390million to duplicate the North Coast Line between Beerburrum and Landsborough (20km) and upgrade 19km from Landsborough to Nambour including extending passing loops, route realignments, station upgrades and extra parking.
Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack made the announcement in early May.
“Reduced travel times and greater trip reliability makes rail a more attractive option for travellers between the region and Brisbane in particular, while more parking at stations will also add to the equation,” Mr McCormack said.
Member for Fairfax Ted O’Brien, who has been tirelessly campaigning for better rail, said the budget commitment was a significant milestone in the campaign to fix the Sunshine Coast’s ageing railway system.
It was the second vital breakthrough for the ‘Get on Board’ campaign following the Federal Government’s commitment to fund a business case for a futuristic Fast Rail project on the Sunshine Coast under the $20million Faster Rail Initiative.
The two projects go hand-in-hand, with rail duplication and capacity upgrades an important precursor to introducing Fast Rail to slash travel times to Brisbane to just 45 minutes.
“Rail duplication and capacity upgrades will mean faster services and less congestion. Duplication also opens up the ability to introduce fast rail in the future and wouldn’t it be great if our North Coast Line became Australia’s first fast rail line,” said Mr O’Brien.
“In any case, duplicating the line will take freight off the passenger rail network and speed up journey times for commuters travelling between the Sunshine Coast and Brisbane.
“It will enable more passenger services that are also more reliable because they no longer have to compete for space with freight trains.
“The upgrades will also double the capacity for freight paths and contribute to easing the congestion on the Bruce Highway.”
“This work must be done now because we know that freight paths will reach capacity by 2023. We also don’t have enough capacity on the existing line for passenger services, with passenger demand forecast to exceed capacity by 2021.
Mr O’Brien said he hoped the State Government would come to the table and agree to fund its share of the duplication project.
“I’m sure the State Government won’t say no to a gift of $390 million. They have been supportive of our fast rail plans and now the Federal Government is putting serious money towards the business case they submitted to Infrastructure Australia for rail duplication, so it’s a bit of a no brainer.”
“There is still a long way to go before we secure all the funding required for both duplication and fast rail and so I encourage people to ‘Get on Board’ and join our Unity Ticket by adding their name to our campaign for better rail.