Rail duplication gets $390 million cash injection
A MASSIVE $390 million has been committed by the Federal Government to the Sunshine Coast rail duplication after a lengthy campaign by Fairfax MP Ted O'Brien, with hopes it will be a precursor to fast rail services.
Pending funding from the State Government, the project will duplicate the 20km rail line between Beerburrum and Landsborough and upgrade the 19km stretch between Landsborough and Nambour by extending passing loops, realigning routes, upgrading stations and providing extra parking.
Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack and Minister Paul Fletcher are expected to officially announce the funding today, with Mr O'Brien touting the move as a significant milestone for the Coast.
"The current North Coast line is too slow, too congested and very old," he said.
"The passenger trains travel at an agonisingly slow 52km/h, which is stone-aged speed when you think bullet trains can hit 250km/h."
Now, Mr O'Brien is calling on the State Government to step up and commit to their half of the funding.
"They have been supportive of our fast rail plans and now the Federal Government is putting serious money towards the business case they submitted to Infrastructure Australia for rail duplication, so its a bit of a no brainer," he said.
Fisher MP Andrew Wallace welcomed the announcement which he said would be a "significant economic boost to the region, creating more than 600 jobs and driving even more investment into the local economy".
"This is something Ted and I have been working on since we were elected," he said.
"As the Sunshine Coast continues to grow as will our need for passenger rail and freight rail."
The duplication would act as a "potential launch pad" for the fast rail, according to Minister for Urban Infrastructure and Cities Paul Fletcher, with a business case expected to be completed next year.
"That business case will take as its starting point the upgraded Beerburrum to Nambour line - the subject of today's funding announcement - and will examine potential further investments which would allow a faster rail service to be delivered between Sunshine Coast and Brisbane," he said.
Mr O'Brien thanked the Daily as well as the public for backing the project and said a "united force" was vital to get the project completed.
"Not only do we need State Government support with hundreds of millions to match the Federal contribution, but we need to continue working together right across the Sunshine Coast for fast rail," he said.
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