The federal government is in the final stages of evaluating a rail upgrade that will see passengers travel between Brisbane’s Central Station and the Sunshine Coast in just 45 minutes.
The Courier Mail reports the plan has been submitted by a consortium that includes Stockland, Smec, Urbis and KPMG, and has the backing of the Coalition’s 26 federal parliamentarians.
The funding would come from $10 billion set aside for the government’s National Rail Program. The plan, called North Coast Connect, would build 200 kilometres of new rail between Brisbane and the Sunshine Coast, and for the first time connect Central Station to Caloundra, Mooloolaba and Maroochydore.
The Courier report suggests the project will have a knock-on effect that provides the passenger numbers needed for Infrastructure Australia to justify the controversial Cross River Rail.
The submitted plan has three core elements: upgrading existing rail lines between Brisbane and Beerburrum with curve-easing, level crossing removals and system upgrades; laying new rail between Beerburrum and Nambour; and a new spur line from Beerwah that will connect Caloundra, Mooloolaba and Maroochydore to Brisbane.
It would be a huge improvement in travel times, a train trip to Nambour Central Station currently taking anywhere up to two hours.
North Coast Connect is one of 10 rail projects shortlisted by the government from an original list of 26 vying for federal funding and the only Queensland project to make the cut. The successful three projects will be announced next month.