Work underway on $48 million Toowoomba Range rail upgrade
Published Thursday, 08 February, 2018 at 09:00 AM
Minister for Transport and Main Roads
The Honourable Mark Bailey
The Palaszczuk Government has commenced work has on a major rail upgrade along the Toowoomba Range, which will support 100 construction jobs locally.
Transport Minister Mark Bailey said the $48 million Palaszczuk Government investment will involve increasing the height of 11 rail tunnels on the Toowoomba and Little Liverpool Ranges, enabling the transport of containerised freight by rail from the Darling Downs and South West Queensland Regions directly to the Port of Brisbane.
This vital project will not only help to support the growth and prosperity of Queensland’s agricultural sector, it will also provide a welcome boost to the local construction industry,” Mr Bailey said.
“Foundation and preparation works have commenced with further preparation works to be undertaken during a scheduled track closure of the western rail line at the end of February. The first tunnels will be lowered during a major track closure in April.
“The lowering of 11 rail tunnel floors on the Toowoomba and Little Liverpool Ranges will create the clearance necessary to transport 9’6” high cube freight shipping containers via rail, increasingly being used to export goods.
“This project is a huge vote of confidence in the future growth of agriculture in the Darling Downs and South West Queensland Regions, which currently produces around a third of Queensland’s agricultural output and is a major area for cotton.
“The Palaszczuk Government is committed to ensuring rail is a more attractive and viable option for those industries who wish to use larger containers to get their goods to the Port of Brisbane for export, and to helping improve the overall competitiveness of our agricultural sector in this region.
“We are committed to supporting economic and jobs growth in regional Queensland communities and this project will ensure farmers are supported, with the freight options in place to transport their goods to market now and into the future.
“This project has the potential to help reduce the quantity of heavy vehicles required to transport freight on the highway from South West Queensland to the Port, improving safety and reducing the impact on our roads.”
Michelle Reynolds, CEO of InterlinkSQ - a major intermodal freight hub being constructed West of Toowoomba – said that today’s funding announcement is the catalyst towards a reinvention of the rail freight industry in our region.
“The tunnel upgrade forms an important building block in the future of rail freight, and most importantly, demonstrates the State Government’s commitment to the creation and protection of jobs for our state,” Ms Reynolds said.
Mr Bailey said after working with BMD Constructions on the detailed design and investigation works for the project, Queensland Rail would continue to work with the locally based company to undertake the construction phase of the project.
“BMD Constructions, which has local offices in Toowoomba, and design partners WSP Parsons Brinckerhoff, have completed the detailed design for the project, and Queensland Rail will continue to work with BMD Constructions during the construction phase,” Mr Bailey said.
“Now that construction has started, we anticipate the work will take approximately 12 months to complete.
“This project will lower 11 heritage listed railway tunnel floors, including two tunnels on the Little Liverpool range at Laidley and nine tunnels on the Toowoomba Range.
“The tunnels are stone and brick lined and were constructed in the 1860s on Australia’s first main rail line through the Great Dividing Range. This project will strike a balance between maintaining the heritage status of the tunnels, while providing the modern day upgrade that is required.”
Media Enquiries – Chris Vernon – 0416 800 004
Video overlay of works can be found here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z-DyXpyP-ds&feature=youtu.be+