MP says Cleveland commuters will face delays due to inland rail project

RAIL PAIN: Commuter delays will result from inland rail project due to their being no funds for a port link, says MP Don Brown.
RAIL PAIN: Commuter delays will result from inland rail project due to their being no funds for a port link, says MP Don Brown.

CAPALABA MP Don Brown says Cleveland rail line commuters will face travel delays due to extra freight from the $8.4 billion inland rail project being used on the line to get to the port of Brisbane.

Mr Brown said the federal budget announcement of the inland rail project did not include funds to  connect the inland rail to the Port of Brisbane, meaning freight would potentially be transported on the Cleveland line.

"I did not think I could see a federal budget where Redlands transport infrastructure could go backwards but (PM) Malcolm Turnbull and (Bowman MP) Andrew Laming have delivered just that,’’ Mr Brown said.

“This is a double whammy for Redlands as there was no funding for Cross River Rail, which would cut travel time by 14 minutes on the Cleveland and provide trains every six minutes during peak hour, taking pressure off our roads such as Rickertt (at Thorneside)."

Mr Laming said Mr Brown was wrong because of all the freight on a 2 kilometre long inland rail train, less than 10 per cent would be going to the Port of Brisbane.

“Anything that might need to go to the port would be a tiny fraction of loads and would be moved in off peak times, like the middle of the day or at night,’’ Mr Laming said.

“It might be slightly busier at a rail crossing like at Coorparoo but it would have zero impact on peak hour.

“It doesn’t interfere with passenger movements.’’

Mr Laming said this was why no funding had been allocated for port line improvements at this stage though it would occur eventually.

“One day the line will be extended and it is a complicated route through a huge number of suburbs,’’ he said.

Mr Brown questioned where the $300 million announced in 2013 by the Abbott and Newman governments towards a tunnel to the port of Brisbane had gone.

"We need to take freight and coal trains off the Cleveland line and this tunnel project should be funded by the federal government before inland rail can proceed."

The government proposes that the inland rail will provide a high-capacity freight link between Melbourne and Brisbane through regional Australia.

With a transit time of under 24 hours, it will reduce the number of B-double trucks on highways, helping to make roads and towns safer.

Inland Rail will boost Australia’s GDP by $16 billion over the next 50 years and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 750,000 tonnes.

In 2015 a separate line was proposed to be built between Acacia Ridge and the port which would include a tunnel. This would take freight traffic off suburban lines.

Two plans exist for an Acacia Ridge-to-port connection: a link through the Karawatha Forest beside the Gateway Motorway, or a tunnel under Brisbane’s southern and eastern suburbs.

The existing link which which has narrow and standard gauge will be used until its capacity is reached, with minor improvements for heavier axle loads and longer trains.