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More details revealed on planned 37km line and stations from Beerwah to Maroochydore

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A proposed rail corridor on the Sunshine Coast could boast some of the fastest lines in South-East Queensland, with each train carrying about 720 passengers.

The dual-track Direct Sunshine Coast Rail Line, from Beerwah to Maroochydore, could accommodate trains that reach speeds of 160km/h in some sections.

The figures were revealed to Sunshine Coast News as the state government conducts environmental surveys in the area, and after it announced where stations would likely be built.

A Transport and Main Roads spokesperson said the line would complement the planned Sunshine Coast Public Transport Project – which could include an upgraded bus network or light rail – to provide “convenient, affordable and reliable” travel.

“The line will directly connect growing areas of the Sunshine Coast to the broader South-East Queensland rail network, providing a fast and reliable alternative to on-road travel options,” they said.

“Heavy rail is best suited to moving large numbers of people over medium to longer distances and providing links through congestion centres. It is one of the most safe and accessible forms of mass transit.

“Rail is also one of the most sustainable transport solutions; one full train can take up to 600 cars off the road, taking pressure off the local and arterial roads around the region.

“The DSC Line is being designed to allow for up to 160km/h speeds on dual tracks, to move people quickly and efficiently between centres on the Sunshine Coast and between our regions.

An artist’s impression of a station along the Direct Sunshine Coast Rail Line. Picture: TMR

“In some locations along the corridor, speeds will be less than 160km/h due to station spacing and track geometry, but if constructed this corridor would be one of the fastest lines on the SEQ Rail Network.”

It’s uncertain how often trains could run on the line.

“The number of trains proposed to travel on this route each day will be an outcome of the business case, as will the estimate of travel times on the network,” the spokesperson said.

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The Queensland Government has committed $14 million towards finalising the detailed business case and is working in partnership with the Australian Government to investigate the proposed line, which would be a 37km heavy rail extension between Beerwah and Maroochydore.

Station locations being considered are Beerwah, Nirimba (Aura), Caloundra, Aroona, Birtinya, Mountain Creek and Maroochydore.

Caloundra Station is expected to be elevated over Caloundra Road and Rotary Park, with views of the ocean, while Maroochydore Station would be behind Carnaby Street, in the new-look CBD.

A tunnel could feature at Little Mountain, with a station placed behind Parklands Tavern at Aroona.

Birtinya Station could be behind Coles, leaving passengers with about 1.5km to 2km walk to planned Olympic football and basketball venues.

There could be stations near business, health and sports and recreation hubs.

Park ‘n’ ride facilities are also expected at stations.

The State Member for Caloundra, Labor’s Jason Hunt, said plans for a two-lane track and seven stations were “tremendous”.

“If you are between Caloundra and Maroochydore, you’re going to be reasonably close to a station,” he said.

“We absolutely need a station in Caloundra South (Aura) as it’s a high-growth area, and the one in Birtinya is sensibly placed (near Sunshine Coast University Hospital and Sunshine Coast Stadium).”

Meanwhile, TMR has started environmental surveys to gain a detailed understanding of the local environment ahead of designing the line.

The surveys will provide a comprehensive understanding of the types of habitats in the area.

Transport and Main Roads Minister Mark Bailey said the direct rail project was progressing rapidly, and he said the environmental assessments would enable future planning stages to be accelerated.

“You can’t build major projects like this without doing the planning,” he said.

The proposed 37km route between Beerwah and Maroochydore, including seven stations.

“The government knows how important this project is for everyone that is lucky enough to call the Sunshine Coast home.

“With state and federal Labor governments working together, we’re developing the transport solutions that the city needs.

“The Sunshine Coast community deserve public transport that works for them, and we are committed to making that happen.”

The state government is awaiting results from the planning phase before announcing any further possible funding to the SCDRL.

Several local LNP members of state parliament recently called for more commitment to the line.

They said that time was of the essence, to financially commit to and then build the infrastructure for a growing population, ahead of the 2032 Games.

But Mr Hunt said it was important to properly plan local transport projects before acting on them.

“None of them are going to happen next week and they’re all going to costs significant amounts of money, but they have got to happen … and there is a real thorough effort that goes into it,” he said.

The project is expected to be costly and it would take time. Picture: TMR

Community consultation is now open for the direct line and other key transport projects on the Sunshine Coast.

See Sunshine Coast Major Projects for more details.

Do you have an opinion to share? Submit a Letter to the Editor at Sunshine Coast News via news@sunshinecoastnews.com.au. You must include your name and suburb.

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