IN THE STATE OF QUEENSLAND, SOME OF THE COUNTRY PRIORITY RAILWAY PROJECTS ARE UNDER DEVELOPMENT, SUCH AS THE CROSS RIVER RAIL, WITH AN INVESTMENT OF 5.4 BILLION AUSTRALIAN DOLLARS (3.322 Bn), OR THE HIGH-SPEED CONNECTION “NORTH COAST CONNECT.
The Queensland Transport and Roads Investment Programme (QTRIP) 2019–20 to 2022–23 ”ensures the continuity of regional transport projects. Railway infrastructures enjoy a prominent role, as many works have state support and are a top priority such as new regional connections, the Cross River project or the Brisbane metropolitan line.
BRISBANE-SUNSHINE COAST HIGH-SPEED LINE
One of the lines that are being considered in the region is the high-speed rail connection entitled “Brisbane-Sunshine Coast-Moreton Bay.” his project, entitled “North Coast Connect” would reduce travelling time, with a 200-kilometre journey, taking less than an hour. The action plan includes the improvement of the current layout between Brisbane and Beerburrum, the installation of new lines between Beerburrum and Nambour and the construction of a 40-kilometer road between Beerwah and Maroochyodre.
For these works, the Queensland Government has allocated a fund of 160.8 million Australian dollars (98.3 million euros), while the federal executive will contribute 390 million Australian dollars (239 million euros). The ultimate goal is for the high-speed rail line to be operational over a period of five years.
BRISBANE CROSS RIVER RAIL NETWORK
Cross River Rail is one of the most relevant infrastructure projects in the country with an investment of 5.4 billion Australian dollars (3.322 billion euros). The works to unlock the urban core, expand the network’s potential and provide more and better services to citizens, began in September. It is a 10.2 kilometre route from Dutton Park to Bowen Hills, which includes 5.9 kilometres of tunnel that will cross the Brisbane River. The route will include four new underground stations at Boggo Road, Woolloongabba, Albert Street and Roma Street and another eight overland at: Rocklea, Moorooka, Yeerongpilly, Yeronga, Fairfield, Dutton Park and Exhibition.
According to the planned works’ schedule, it will be completed in 2024 and will serve to decongest traffic in the city center, increasing services and connecting the network with other systems. Amongst the companies selected to execute the project are three firms of CIMIC Group, an Australian subsidiary of Spain’s ACS.
BRISBANE METROPOLITAN RAILWAY
The city of Brisbane will have a large combined network of 21 kilometres of bus lane and two new metro lines with 18 stations. The works corresponding to the first phase will be carried out until 2022, the year in which it will enter into operation.
The project has an estimated cost of 944 million Australian dollars (580 million euros) and will be operationally ready in 2022. There will be interchanges that will connect to the “Cross River” rail network at Boggo Road station and Roma Street station.
The Queensland authorities have conducted a study to propose a new passenger rail service. It is a fork of the north coast line in Beerwah that would extend through Caloundra to Maroochydore.
This network would strengthen the transport of Sunshine Coast and will link the urban core of its coastal area with Brisbane.
ACCESSIBLE STATIONS AND SMART TICKETING
Queensland also works to improve the services provided to users. For this reason, it is committed to new technologies and to make its facilities wholly accessible.
On the one hand, the central station of Brisbane will have smart ticketing systems (Smart Ticketing system), a project for which 371 million Australian dollars (231 million euros) have been allocated. The aim is to digitise the payment method so that the user can pay through their Smartphone / smartwatch easily.
On the other hand, the transport authorities have approved an item of 250 million Australian dollars (153 million euros) for improvement works at stations for passengers with reduced mobility.
SUNSHINE COAST LIGHT RAIL NETWORK
Sunshine Coast City Council has developed a plan to put in place an
integrated public transport system with which to serve the growing population of the area. In July 2019, it unveiled to the Government of Queensland a study where several proposals are analysed and in which two light rail lines were suggested. It would be a 20 kilometre track between Maroochydore and Caloundra, through Mooloolaba and Kawana and the idea for this to be completed in 2025.