Lockyer Valley Mayor voices rail concerns
FUTURE infrastructure plans surrounding inland rail have concerned not only local residents, but also Lockyer Valley Regional Council Mayor Steve Jones.
Ballard resident Michael Hare raised concerns (Gatton Star 4/2/15) surrounding the proposed route of the Brisbane-Melbourne Inland Rail Project.
Cr Jones said the purchase of two properties in Helidon by Queensland Rail added to the confusion around future railway plans.
"Some of those properties are a considerable distance from the railway line, 500m to 1km from the railway line," he said.
Cr Jones said council had been left in the dark as to future upgrades and construction works on the railway line in the region.
"I think they should come clean and I think they should provide to our council and the people of the Lockyer Valley information," he said.
"For something to be at the stage where they are buying land - the designs have been finished long ago."
A Transport and Main Roads spokesperson confirmed the purchase of property in Helidon and said it was in regards to the Gowrie to Grandchester rail corridor alignment.
"In late 2014, we approved two early acquisition applications for properties in Helidon. The applications were related to the preserved Gowrie to Grandchester rail corridor alignment," the spokesperson said.
"This alignment has been preserved since 2006. There are currently no further early acquisition applications under way."
Cr Jones also feared increased coal traffic would hinder the opportunity for future passenger services.
"The electric rail and passenger rail would be a magnificent thing for the Lockyer Valley. We should have had it years ago," he said.
"It would make massive sense to have electric passenger rail but we're concerned the coal trains, which make a lot of money, will be put in front of passenger rail and we'll be disadvantaged on that too.
"Whichever way we look at it, rail is one of our biggest problems here because we desperately need the passenger rail, but the line, we've been told, is pretty much already at capacity.
"And that's all with coal."
The Gowrie to Grandchester rail corridor alignment is a joint initiative between the Department of Transport and Main Roads and Queensland Rail, which is separate to that of the Australian Rail Track Corporation's (ARTC) Melbourne-Brisbane Inland Rail Project.
The two proposed projects have differing route plans for rail through the Lockyer Valley.