Work is underway to fit the Sunshine Coast rail line with new signalling technology as a part of a $43 million project to roll out European Train Control System (ETCS) level one technology between Caboolture and Gympie North.

About 60 workers are involved in the work, which is occurring ahead of major construction on stage one of the jointly-funded $550 million Sunshine Coast Rail Duplication project ramping up in the next 12 months.

Queensland Transport and Main Roads Minister, Mark Bailey, said the Queensland Rail project involved upgrading 130 signal equipment cubicles and installing 43 new equipment cubicles over 120km of track.

“Lead contractor Rail Control Systems Australia has more than 30 people working on this project out of Cooroy and they’re employing electrical apprentices who receive on the job experience in railway signalling control systems,” Mr Bailey said.

“RCSA has also brought on local subcontractors based here on the Sunshine Coast at Landsborough and Pelican Waters.

“Across the whole project, more than 60 jobs are being supported, including in trades such as electrical, signalling, engineering and traffic control.”

Mr Bailey said the project was not only supporting local jobs, it was also gearing the North Coast rail line up for improved services between the Sunshine Coast and Brisbane ahead of Cross River Rail opening in 2025.

“Installing ETCS technology on the line means we’ll be able to put the newer NGR class trains into services up to Gympie,” Mr Bailey said.

“Integrating ETCS and Automatic Train Protection (ATP) systems along the line is also an important step in preparing for track duplication between Beerburrum and Landsborough.

“Once installation has been completed along the track and onboard trains, the new infrastructure will provide engineering control to ensure trains stop before the red signal.”

Member for Nicklin, Robert Skelton, said it’s a great win for local jobs and local commuters.

“This is all about supporting jobs, especially apprentices,” Mr Skelton said.

“Down the track, the upgrades will also see more modern trains able to operate in our region which will be welcomed by the thousands of people who commute to work every day.

“Crews started work near Gympie last September and have been progressively making their way south.

“This project will continue to support a significant number of jobs through to the middle of next year until the crews finish their work just south of Caboolture.

“Works are about to ramp up on the Sunshine Coast Rail Duplication project, so I’m pleased to see the work is being done to equip the rail line with signalling technology that is increasingly being adopted on major rail systems across the world.”

RCSA Construction Delivery Manager, Darren McNamara, said delivery of the highly technical train control system had opened new opportunities to work with local businesses, and to invest in more apprenticeships.

“The RSCA team is glad to be working alongside local subcontractors from Landsborough and Pelican Waters, who are providing vital services in digging, underground service proving and signalling testing and commissioning,” Mr McNamara said.

“We’re sourcing materials locally where possible, from hardware, cement and local fabrication services through to hydraulic services, vehicle servicing and accommodation in Cooroy and Noosaville.

“This project has also allowed us to invest in more young talent. Our electrical apprentices receive on the job experience in railway signalling control systems – skills that are in high demand in the industry.

“This project has given RCSA the confidence to employ an additional apprentice and we have further plans to employ additional apprentices over the project’s duration.”

As part of the Cross River Rail project, a new signalling system is also being installed across sections of the inner-city network, using ETCS level two technology.

The works will be rolled out in several stages starting with the Shorncliffe line, where work has already started.

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