An upgrade to the congested and winding Sunshine Coast hinterland railway line is finally starting to take shape, with new photos showing early work in progress.
The Queensland Government has said construction is well underway on Phase 1 of the $550.8 million Beerburrum to Nambour (B2N) rail project.
Stage 1 focuses on the section of line between Beerburrum and Beerwah stations which will be duplicated from one track to two and straightened.
This stage also includes creating more passing loops for trains, upgrading stations, building new park ‘n’ ride car parks and building overpasses at Barrs Road and Burgess Street (scroll down for more details).
The suite of improvements is designed to reduce congestion along the busy North Coast Line used by freight and passenger trains, and speed up journeys by around three minutes.
New aerial photography (above) shows the progress of one aspect of early work to realign a 1km section of Steve Irwin Way’s main thoroughfare.
This section of road between Nursery Road and Moffatt Road will accommodate the new rail corridor and track infrastructure.
Another image (below) shows the progress of a new park ‘n ride on the east side of the Landsborough Line where the land is being prepared.
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B2N, jointly funded by the federal and state governments (70:30), consists of duplicating the line between Beerburrum and Landsborough and improving the line between Landsborough and Nambour.
A new 20km shared trail and recreational trail between Glass House Mountains and Landsborough is part of the project.
However, Sunshine Coast suburban attorney Jeff Addison said the project was well overdue as it was due to be operational in 2022.
“This really has to be one of the slowest rail projects in Queensland, and it stops about 4km from Landsborough.” he said.
“He needs to go to Landsborough as a bare minimum, every report I’ve read over the last decade has said that.
“Even Queensland Rail recognizes it has to go to Landsborough.”
The project was announced in 2018 and since then “not a sleeper has been laid for heavy rail, not a single one,” he said.
Due to the delays, Mr Addison said freight was being forced into trucks and onto the roads.
“I welcome any initiative to move this project forward – and to complete it, but it still falls far short of what is required,” he said.
“He has been static for heavy rail for over four years now.
“The bulk of the work for this project to date is roadwork, intersections and parking spaces.”
Caloundra MP Jason Hunt said work was continuing despite the effects of extreme rainfall, COVID and flu.
“This early work is critical to laying the foundation for heavy construction and I want to thank the hard work of the teams on the ground,” Hunt said.
“We are battling unprecedented rainfall in the southeast alongside spikes in COVID-19 and flu, but the work continues.
“Like our ongoing work on the Bruce Highway and its interchanges, we’re making your travels safer and more efficient, no matter the mode.
“Whether you’re on two wheels, four wheels or rails, there’s a lot going on on the Sunshine Coast to make your journey more efficient and safer.”
Mr Hunt said the wider Beerburrum to Nambour (B2N) project would support more than 330 jobs over the life of the project.
Nicklin MP Rob Skelton was pleased to see the work already underway on Stage 1 of the upgrade.
“Stage 1 will see the duplication of the rail line between Beerburrum and Beerwah and provide better wayside infrastructure en route.
“More parking spaces will be available at Landsborough Park & Ride, a new bus interchange will be built and Nambour station will also benefit from more parking spaces for commuters.
“Work is also underway on the jointly funded business case of $6 million in an extension of the railway line from Beerwah to Maroochydore.
“This business case will confirm the expected scope and costs of the expansion, which is an important step before we commit funding for future stages.
“We are on the right track to make Queenslander’s home safer and sooner.”
Step 1: From Beerburrum to Beerwah:
- duplication of the track between Beerburrum and Glass House Mountains on an improved layout
- dual track between Glass House Mountains and Beerwah within existing corridor
- realignment of a 1km section of Steve Irwin Way between Nursery Road and Moffatt Road to accommodate the new rail corridor and track infrastructure
- Beerburrum Road and Steve Irwin Road intersection upgrade, including a new road overpass on Beerburrum Road
- park ‘n’ ride expansion on the north side of Beerburrum station
- replacing the Barrs Road level crossing in Glass House Mountains with a new road viaduct connecting Barrs Road to Moffatt Road
- replacement of the Burgess Street road-rail bridge with a new road viaduct
- construction of a new bus interchange in Landsborough
- a new park ‘n’ ride on the east side of Landsborough station
- expansion of the park-and-ride on the east side of Nambour station.
For more information on the project, visit www.tmr.qld.gov.au