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    Media Statements

    Coat of ArmsMedia Release
    JOINT STATEMENT
    Premier
    The Honourable Anna Bligh
    Minister for Transport, Trade, Employment and Industrial Relations
    The Honourable John Mickel

    Tuesday, October 07, 2008

    Inner city rail plan to increase capacity

    JOINT STATEMENT

    Premier
    The Honourable Anna Bligh

    Minister for Transport, Trade, Employment and Industrial Relations
    The Honourable John Mickel

    Tuesday, October 07, 2008

    Inner city rail plan to increase capacity

    New underground river crossings, 13km tunnels and train stations up to 45 metres underground are key options in a plan to give Brisbane a world-class 21st century underground rail network.

    Premier Anna Bligh and Transport Minister John Mickel today revealed proposals contained in the Inner City Rail Capacity study.

    The study identifies the need for four new underground tracks along two corridors - from the western Ipswich line linking up to the northern Caboolture/North Coast line, and from the southern Gold Coast/Beenleigh line to the northern lines.

    Tunnels would range from 8km to 13 km in length with the option for underground stations in Spring Hill, Woolloongabba, the CBD, Newstead, the Exhibition Centre and West End.

    "This a first step and the projects identified in this study represents the largest single investment in the rail network ever considered by a Queensland Government, and would outstrip our current investment in busways," said the Premier.

    “That’s why we sought the support of the Federal government when we submitted this project on our list of priorities for the $20 billion Infrastructure Australia fund in June.

    “We can’t build this without more than one level of government being involved but this is an example of the sort of visionary solution we can realistically consider when we have a federal government that is prepared to work with the States.

    “We are building the infrastructure needed to improve services today and our planning is delivering a expanded public transport network, more rail capacity, renovated stations and huge projects like Airport Link and the Northern Busway.”

    The underground rail project will cost up to $14 billion with the south to north corridor to be delivered by 2016 and the west to north corridor line constructed by 2026.

    “With federal support we would expect to be able to start construction in 2012 which is the around the same planning period we saw for Airport Link and the North South Bypass Tunnel,” said the Premier.

    Ms Bligh said the Inner City Rail Capacity Study found that in 2006 more than 44,000 people used city train services each day during the two hour morning peak period.

    “By 2016 demand is forecast to reach between 70,000 and 80,000 people in peak periods and by 2026 increase further to between 105,000 and 130,000 people,” she said.

    "Underground tunnels and stations are key features of the new routes, which will help minimise disruption to existing businesses and commuters and alleviate demand for available surface space,” said the Premier.

    Transport Minister John Mickel said the CBD remained a key destination for rail commuters.

    “Three routes have been identified as options to meet the demand requirements for the first line and an additional three routes have been identified for the second line to meet future demand,” he said.

    Minister Mickel said Queensland Transport would now undertake a detailed feasibility study to determine the preferred alignment for the first route, which could be completed by mid-2011.

    "This study will consider environmental concerns, land use planning, engineering and public comments to decide on a preferred alignment with a view to construction beginning in 2012,” he said.

    “These are huge projects and they require detailed planning. This is the same process that was followed for the State government’s Airport Link project where construction will start next month.

    “The study will also look at funding options but it is clear that we will need the Federal Government to come on board and there is also scope for a Public Private Partnership element.

    "For Brisbane to remain a vibrant modern city planning now is essential to meet increased patronage and reduce traffic congestion, pollution and other environmental impacts.

    “We are planning for the future but we are also doing an incredible amount of work to boost our rail infrastructure and add new services now,” he said.

    "Increased numbers of rail services and signalling efficiency will help meet capacity demands in the short term.

    "Current efforts to increase capacity on the rail network include a third track from Salisbury to Kuraby, duplication from Ormeau to Coomera, Helensvale to Robina and Mitchelton to Keperra," he said.

    “We are delivering a new train on average even month and we will do that for the next two years to meet the high demand for our public transport services.

    "These projects are all part of a master plan to ensure Brisbane remains a vibrant modern city and can meet the demands of increased patronage and reduced traffic congestion, pollution and other environmental impacts."

    Media contact: Transport Minister: (07) 32371111