SIGNALLING issues that have delayed the Moreton Bay Rail Link have been resolved, but commuters will be in for six days of pain before it can finally open.
Transport Minister Stirling Hinchliffe said Queensland Rail and the Transport and Main Roads department had determined the system was now reliable and it was safe to take the final step in linking it to the existing rail network.
Preparations are now underway ahead of the closure of the Caboolture line between Zillmere and Caboolture from 9pm on Friday, September 16 until 2am on Friday, September 23.
“To connect this line we will need to close the Caboolture line for six days which will be one of the largest rail line closures to ever take place in Southeast Queensland,” Mr Hinchliffe said.
“We know that this will be a major disruption for commuters who travel between Caboolture and Zillmere on the train line, but it is absolutely critical work to allow us to make this historic rail line a reality for the people of the Moreton Bay region.”
Mr Hinchliffe said more than 200 buses would be used to transport affected commuters and he encouraged people to work from home, where possible.
He said there would be widespread advertising, signage, online notices, on-board and station announcements and staff on the ground to inform commuters.
“Extra station staff will be available at stations and bus connections to assist passengers and temporary timetables will be available for the closure,” Mr Hinchliffe said.
“We have taken measures to limit the inconvenience for customers however we ask that regular Caboolture line customers take note of this substantial closure and have alternative options in place where possible.
Moreton Bay Regional Council Mayor Allan Sutherland said news the rail line was inching closer to opening was welcome.
“I’d like to thank residents for their perseverance because it’s been very frustrating for people to see a $1 billion piece of infrastructure sitting unused,” he said.
Cr Sutherland said it would be worth the wait and something for whole community to celebrate.
He said the 5-6 day shutdown was always going to have to happen and was not the result of the signalling issue.
“That’s just the medicine we have to take. We can’t avoid that,” he said.
“We’re going to have to work together as a community.”
He hoped the line would open “shortly after” the shutdown, but said he had not yet been given a date.
Alternate bus services will be available between Zillmere and Caboolture, for passengers during the closure with bus interchanges at Elimbah, Caboolture and Boondall stations.
During peak period buses will be ‘turn up and go’ with express buses available from each station to Boondall station and buses stopping at all stations for intermediate travel.
During off-peak buses will run at 15-minute frequencies with buses running express and stopping at all stations.
Additional train services will also operate on the Shorncliffe line.
Original article published at www.couriermail.com.au by Kylie Knight 10/8/16
City Deal a $58bn ‘Game Changer’ for Southeast Queensland
South-east Queensland could be green-lit for the biggest “city deal” in Australia, with a $58 billion proposal to guide its growth, and the prime minister announcing his support for the major plan.
With a focus on supporting diverse sectors within the region including housing and planning, tourism, manufacturing and education, the SEQ City Deal could also pave the way for government-owned land to be opened for development.
Queensland deputy premier Jackie Trad this week released Transforming SEQ, which highlights 35 “opportunities” that could be considered as part of the future City Deal, including six “game changers” for the region.
“Modelling by KPMG has shown a SEQ City Deal could stimulate an increase of up to $58 billion in our economy by improving the productivity and competitiveness of the region,” Trad said.
Prime minister Scott Morrison will be meeting with the SEQ Mayors and Queensland government to discuss the proposal this week.
The City Deal, which involves all three levels of government — council, state and federal — would see government working on priorities to drive the SEQ economy.
Under a City Deal plan, all three levels of government sign an agreement to set the priority infrastructure projects and initiatives.
Integrated land-use planning approach?
Property Council chief executive Ken Morrison described the announcement as “a game-changer for the region.
“Our growing cities and urban regions are the engine rooms of the Australian economy,” Morrison said.
“The city deal model brings together all levels of government around the same plan to boost productivity and jobs through targeted investment in city-shaping projects and infrastructure.”
Property Council Queensland director Chris Mountford said the council has been collaborating with state government and SEQ councils for nearly six years on the potential for a city deal.
“The State and local governments have also agreed in principle to a more coordinated integrated land-use planning approach,”
“Opening up under-utilised government-owned land for development has also been agreed as a clear opportunity to unlock economic activity, create jobs and build business confidence.”
The region’s current 3.5 million population is forecast to increase to 5.3 million within the next 25 years, ultimately requiring an extra 800,000 homes and additional one million jobs.
Focus has been placed on the recently released people mass movement study which identifies the impact of the expected population growth on the region’s ability to cope with future transport demand.
Minister for Cities Alan Tudge said he, along with the prime minister, will be meeting with the SEQ Mayors to discuss the Deal.
“We need to cater for this rising population and the SEQ City Deal will be a huge step forward,” Tudge said.
South-east Queensland is already home to over two-thirds of the state’s population.
The region is home to nearly one in every seven Australians.
The agreement marks the second city deal for Queensland following the policy being first established in Townsville.
So far, city deals have been developed for Western Sydney, Townsville and Launceston, and a further four more are currently under negotiation in Adelaide, Hobart, Perth and Geelong.
Government considers sinking old trains for a rollingstock reef
Queensland’s old trains could be sunk in Moreton Bay to create the state’s newest artificial reef.
Queensland Rail’s fleet of old electric multiple units (EMU) are being progressively replaced with the New Generation Rollingstock, which are being fixed to comply with disablity laws after being described as flawed “from day one”.
However, rather than end up on the scrap heap, a proposal is being considered by the government to turn a few of the old trains into an underwater tourist attraction in south-east Queensland.
A petition, lodged in the Queensland Parliament, is calling for a small number of the fleet of 87 EMUs to be reused as an artificial reef in Moreton Bay when they are retired.
Transport Minister Mark Bailey said he was happy to look at the idea.
“I like the idea of seeing these old trains support new life as artificial reefs in Moreton Bay or somewhere else appropriate along our coast and have previously requested Queensland Rail to examine it further,” he said.
“That said, any plan to sink trains to the sea floor would need to be carefully considered from an environmental, maritime, tourism and cost perspective.”
Queensland’s Department of Environment and Science has advised Queensland Rail it would consider a proposal to use two or four retired EMU or inner-city express [ICE] train units for an artificial reef.
Decisions would have to be made on whether the site would be used for marine life or also as a dive site.
Depth, access, stability in storms and maintenance would also need to be considered.
It is understood the department preferred to use artificial reefs constructed from highly productive, stable, purpose-built reefs with expected life spans of more than 30 years over scrap metal.
No firm proposals have been received and no funding has been committed to the project or a feasibility study.
Greens MP Michael Berkman, who sponsored the petition, said supporting the voices of constituents was a great part of his job.
“The wrecks at Moreton Island are an amazing tourist attraction, and another artificial reef that commemorates Brisbane’s well-loved trains is definitely worth considering,” he said.
“The state and federal government would need to conduct a rigorous environment impact assessment, and traditional owners should get final say, but a “rollingstock reef” could be a beautiful addition to Moreton Bay.”
Rail lobbyist Robert Dow said the retired EMU trains were currently being stored in stabling yards.
“As to suitability for a reef, I’m not in a position to say either way, but my gut feeling is they’re too fragile and I don’t think they’d last too long in the ocean,” he said.
“They’re not like a ship, a ship is designed to be in the sea to a certain degree.”
There are several artificial reefs in Queensland, including at Moreton Bay, the Great Sandy Marine Park, ex-HMAS Brisbane, and ex-HMAS Tobruk.
Dive operators declared the sinking of the ex-HMAS Tobruk a “stuff-up” after it landed on its side, although the Queensland government said a report showed it could still be accessed by beginner divers.
$63b infrastructure plan to keep SEQ moving till 2041
It’s going to cost $63.7 billion to keep South East Queensland moving over the next two decades, according to a study released today by the region’s mayors.
The population of the region is expected to grow by about 1.8 million people to more than five million people by 2041, putting extraordinary demand on the already strained transport network.
The SEQ People Mass Movement Study lists a total of 47 projects designed to keep city-to-city trips under 45 minutes and urban commutes under 30 minutes, including a faster rail network connecting the Sunshine Coast and Gold Coast via Brisbane and west to Ipswich and Toowoomba.
Brisbane Lord Mayor Graham Quirk said the infrastructure plan, coined the Strategic Transport Road Map, would keep the region “economically productive” while maintaining its liveability.
“Business as normal is not going to work, we need to increase the amount of money that is being spent in South East Queensland,” Cr Quirk said.
He said the plan would require an average expenditure of about $2.7 billion per year until 2041, which he said was “not an unrealistic figure”.
“What we are seeing in Sydney and Melbourne right now is this massive spend on infrastructure. That’s because they allowed it to get too far behind. We cannot do that in South East Queensland.”
He said there had been no shortage of plans for the region’s transport network, but it was time for all levels of government to unite with a shared vision.
Redland City mayor Karen Williams said the plan delivered the projects over a “reasonable amount of time with a reasonable amount of investment”.
“It’s not a matter of ‘can we afford this?’ It’s the fact that we can’t afford not to do it,” Cr Williams said.
Faster Rail is not as fast as high speed rail, which delivers speeds up to 350km/h, but could run at about 160km/h with top speeds of up to 200-250kmh, with limited stops.
It would be connected to the light rail networks on the Gold Coast and Sunshine Coast in order to ease congestion on major arterials.
Other projects include the Brisbane Metro, Cross River Rail and road upgrades, including the Pacific, Sunshine, Centenary, Ipswich and Logan motorways and the Bruce, Warrego and Mt Lindesay highways.
The study also took into account emerging technologies including autonomous vehicles.
It was first proposed in 2016, and began in September 2017, with the aim of bringing together multiple local, state and national transport studies into one cohesive plan.
The South East Queensland region takes in the Brisbane City, Ipswich City, Lockyer Valley Regional, Logan City, Moreton Bay, Redland City, Scenic Rim Regional, Somerset Regional, Sunshine Coast and Toowoomba Regional council areas.
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