Work starts on rail line

CONSTRUCTION of the Richlands to Springfield train line has begun, bringing the commuter rail network to Ipswich's fastest-growing suburbs.

The new 9.5km track will extend the Darra to Springfield line from Richlands to two new stations being built in Springfield and Springfield Lakes.

Premier Anna Bligh turned the first sod on the new line on Sunday, the same day the Queensland Government's Connecting SEQ 2031 plan was unveiled. Ms Bligh said the Richlands to Springfield project would cost $475 million and would create about 3200 jobs.

"This is a major transport initiative to support one of the fastest growing areas in Australia, with more than 21,000 people currently living in greater Springfield," Ms Bligh said.

"The area's population is expected to reach 105,000 during the next 20 years, and we're building the transport infrastructure to meet this growing region's needs."

Rail Back On Track spokesman Robert Dow said the new project was very significant.

"The railway line to Springfield Central will be the first real new extension to the public passenger rail network for many decades, apart from the recently completed first stage to Richlands," Mr Dow said.

Mr Dow said community response to the stage two announcement had been very positive.

"The extension will be really welcomed," he said.

"There's a great need for public transport (in Springfield) - there are some buses to Goodna at the moment but that's about it."

Mr Dow said the line would allow for the planned future extension into Ripley, which would eventually join back to Ipswich.

The line is expected to be finished in 2013, with the trip

from Springfield Central to Brisbane planned to take about 40 minutes.

Member for Bundamba Jo-Ann Miller said her electorate would benefit from the new stations.

"It's great that work is now under way for this vital piece of infrastructure," Mrs Miller said.

The Springfield Central Station will be located near the Orion Shopping Centre, and the Springfield Station will be near Woodcrest College.

The new stations will link with buses and the cycle path network.



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