THE first services on the new Springfield train line have left this morning in a milestone for one of the fastest-growing areas in Queensland.
The $475 million project, which was officially opened yesterday, is set to cater for population growth and development in the booming region and ease traffic congestion by taking hundreds of cars off the Centenary Hwy.
Ipswich Mayor Paul Pisasale said the opening of the Springfield rail line would go down in history as a major milestone.
"It marks the beginning of the next chapter of development," Cr Pisasale said.
"Ultimately we want to see the line extend to Redbank Plains, through to Ripley Valley, Yamanto and Ipswich Central."
About 1000 passengers are expected to board city-bound trains during this morning's peak period but many may find themselves struggling to get a car park in the early stages.
With only 100 car-parking spaces available, Ipswich City Council has rushed through an application to turn vacant land next to Orion Shopping Centre into a makeshift 300-space parking lot. However, these temporary spaces will not be available for another two weeks.
Transport Minister Scott Emerson said the opening of the Springfield to Richlands rail line was a momentous occasion for the community.
"Springfield residents now have a fast and integrated rail connection to the south-east Queensland network, and it will go a long way towards relieving traffic congestion on major arterial roads," Mr Emerson said.
Services on the Springfield line will run every six to 12 minutes in the morning peak and every 12 minutes in afternoon peak period.
"There'll be plenty of services on the weekend as well, with consistent 30-minute departures on Saturdays; and services every hour from 7am and every 30 minutes from around 10am to 10.30pm on Sundays," Mr Emerson said.
The Richlands to Springfield transport corridor project also includes a dual carriageway upgrade of the Centenary Hwy to Springfield Parkway.
Hundreds of commuters grabbed a sneak peek of the new Springfield Central Station at an open day held yesterday.
For Springfield commuters like Liz Fitz, the opening of the train line will cut time and hassle out of their trip to work.
"I'll be catching the train into the city every day for work," she said.
"Before now I've been catching the bus to Richlands and the train from there, so this will be much easier and cut time off the trip too."
The temporary car park for commuters will be in place until late February, when it is expected the extra 400 car park spaces, announced by the State Government in April, will be complete.
Council's Planning and Development Committee chairman Paul Tully said the temporary car park was approved 48 hours after the application was lodged.
"This will be a huge boost for commuters and will be in addition to the existing permanent car park with 100 spaces," Cr Tully said.
"The approval grants use as a car park until February 28, 2014. At this time a permanent car park with 400 spaces is expected to be completed on land provided by Ipswich City Council to the east of the station and next to Springfield Greenbank Arterial."
Commuters can access the temporary car park from North Star Crossing off Southern Cross Circuit.