RACQ backs supercharged rail line

A new train that would move passengers from Brisbane to the Sunshine Coast in 45 minutes has been welcomed by the State’s peak motoring body.

The Courier Mail reported, if approved for Federal Government funding, the North Coast Connect project would see the construction of 200km of fast rail which would, for the first time, link Brisbane to Maroochydore by rail.

RACQ spokesperson Paul Turner said the project would be a game changer for the people of south east Queensland who had battled inferior public transport and a congested road network.

“With the Federal Government no longer contributing funding to Cross River Rail, which will be completed funded by the State Government, it is important Queensland gets its fair share of the $10 billion Federal Rail fund,” Mr Turner said.

“Not only would this fast train mean people commuting from the Sunshine Coast to Brisbane would save two hours on a return trip, it would reduce congestion on the Bruce Highway with people opting for rail instead.

“The proposal includes the Beerburrum to Nambour rail duplication which was a priority project we lobbied for heavily during the State election campaign.

“The inclusion of a spur line to Maroochydore is also a plus. The people of the Sunshine Coast have been crying out for better public transport for years.”

Mr Turner said while the project had huge benefits, it was important government and the project owners addressed how the proposed rail line would connect to Cross River Rail.

“We need to see the finer details of the proposal, particularly the costs and how the high-speed rail will connect to Cross River Rail from the north of Brisbane. The current track alignment in Brisbane is not suitable for high speeds,” he said.

The project proposal, submitted by Stockland, Smec, Urbis and KPMG, will be considered by the Federal Government for a majority slice of the $10 billion National Rail Program. The Government’s decision will likely be announced next month.