The Federal Government will commit $390 million to duplicate Queensland’s North Coast Rail Line between Beerburrum and Landsborough, and build capacity upgrades from Landsborough to Nambour, delivering improved passenger and freight movement between the Sunshine Coast and Brisbane.
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure and Transport, Michael McCormack, said, “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.”
Minister for Urban Infrastructure and Cities, Paul Fletcher, said the Turnbull Government had moved quickly to commit this funding following the business case being approved by Infrastructure Australia.
“This upgrade, which would duplicate about 20km and upgrade a further 19km of track along the busy commuter corridor, is big news for the Sunshine Coast and surrounding regions,” Mr Fletcher said.
“This project makes good sense in itself—as it will relieve pressure on the busy Bruce Highway and provide commuters with additional train services.
“It also offers a potential launch pad for further work to deliver a faster rail service along this route in the future, depending on the outcome from the business case which is now under way.”
Mr Fletcher said the government announced funding for a business case to plan for faster rail between Brisbane and the Sunshine Coast in March 2018.
“That business case will take as its starting point the upgraded Beerburrum to Nambour line…and will examine potential further investments which would allow a faster rail service to be delivered between Sunshine Coast and Brisbane.”
Infrastructure Australia listed the Beerburrum to Nambour Rail Upgrade as a priority initiative on its Infrastructure Priority List on 27 March 2018 because the project is needed in the near-term and will deliver national productivity gains.
Federal Member for Fisher, Andrew Wallace, said the project would provide a range of upgrades between Landsborough and Nambour including passing loops extensions and additional parking at some stations.
“Through this major investment, we will address conflict between passenger and freight trains on the current single-track line, which is constraining the growth of both types of traffic,” Mr Wallace said.
“This will also be a significant economic boost to the region, creating more than 600 jobs and driving even more investment into the local economy.”
Federal Member for Fairfax, Ted O’Brien, said freight train paths were expected to reach capacity by 2023 and without this investment in duplicating the line, freight traffic would likely switch to road based transport to meet supply chain requirements, placing further pressure on the Bruce Highway.
“The people of the Sunshine Coast and the broader region have been calling for Governments to get on board with improving rail, and the Federal Government has listened to that and delivered,” Mr O’Brien said.
“It is critical we invest in the rail corridor now to deal with congestion, but also plan for a future that may include fast rail to the Sunshine Coast from Brisbane in 45 minutes.”
The Australian Government will work with the Queensland Government to finalise funding arrangements for the project and develop a construction timeframe.