ESSENTIAL PROJECT: RAIL Back On Track spokesman Robert Dow.
ESSENTIAL PROJECT: RAIL Back On Track spokesman Robert Dow. Rob Williams

Fast rail will cut commute to Brisbane by 66 per cent

THE introduction of a regional fast rail network which would transport Ipswich commuters to Brisbane, Toowoomba and the coast at speeds of up to 250km/h needs to happen even if the Olympic Games don't come to south-east Queensland.

That is the opinion of RAIL Back On Track spokesman Robert Dow, who said the group had been advocating for a regional "rapid" rail for many years.

READ MORE: We need to ditch cars and get on board with fast rail

A poll commissioned by the Council of Mayors (SEQ) revealed more than 87 per cent of Ipswich, Lockyer Valley and Toowoomba residents surveyed supported the concept.

The network has the potential to reduce travel times from Brisbane to Ipswich by 66 per cent.

The SEQ Mayors are supporting an Olympic Games on the basis all levels of government are jolted into addressing the lack of transport investment in the region, with a vital part of this being a fast rail network.

A study released earlier this year found all major road corridors in south-east Queensland would be over capacity by 2041, even if every currently planned and funded project was delivered.

But Mr Dow said it should go ahead - no matter what happens with the Olympic bid.

"We think it can stand alone, by itself," he said.

"It's such a strong concept and an important thing to do. We don't think the Olympic Games are necessary to drive it although the Olympics Games will help drive it.

"It's something that is going to work very well."

Mr Dow said an insight of the cost of the project would be revealed with the release of the North Coast Connect business case investigating fast rail on the Sunshine Coast.

It is expected to be released in the next couple of months.

"There's going to be quite a lot of attention on that and the general concept," he said.

"As far as I'm aware the SEQ Council of Mayors don't have any real costings, it's more of just a concept.

"It obviously needs exploring in detail in terms of a business case and more options with regards to the existing rail corridor versus a new line and all those sort of things."

Although he believed a fast rail network between Australia's major cities was not cost effective - such as the Labor's mooted bullet train - one in south-east Queensland would be and work wonders to reduce pressure on our roads.

He said most of the framework for the A-line from Brisbane out to Toowoomba was there but some upgrades were needed.

SEQ Mayors chair and Brisbane Lord Mayor Adrian Schrinner said the economic uplift generated by the introduction of a fast rail network would be "considerable" and key to fixing congestion issues.



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