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State considers more funds for rail upgrade after federal government chips in again

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The state government could soon bolster its funding for a rail upgrade on the Sunshine Coast, after the federal government announced it would provide a cash injection.

A spokesperson for the Department of Transport and Main Roads told Sunshine Coast News the state government was contemplating increasing its financial commitment to the Beerburrum to Nambour Rail Upgrade (Stage 1) project.

It could be announced within a month.

“The Queensland Government is currently considering an increase to the existing $160.8 million commitment as part of the upcoming state budget (June 11),” the spokesperson said.

Further input of about $226.9 million would fully fund Stage 1 and allow work to start in earnest.

The project recently received a $226.7 million injection from the federal government, which boosted its input to $616.7 million, after costs had blown out from $550.8 million to $1.0044 billion.

The B2N project will include major upgrades along the rail corridor from Beerburrum to Nambour.

Stage 1 is expected to include track duplication between Beerburrum and Beerwah, three new bridges, three level crossings, three park ‘n’ ride expansions and a new bus interchange at Landsborough Station.

The federal government quietly announced its enhanced funding last week, which was overshadowed by a $300 million funding announcement for Olympic Games venues at Kawana.

But a federal budget document touted the importance of the track.

“(It will) deliver improved capacity and reliability, reduce travel times and support increased rail patronage for passengers and freight, alleviating pressures on the congested Bruce Highway,” it stated.

The federal government also recently pledged a further $1.15 billion towards the Direct Sunshine Coast Rail Line (Stage 1) to ensure a dual track will be built from Beerwah to Caloundra.

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The state government spokesperson welcomed the federal government’s latest commitment to the B2N upgrade.

The spokesperson also highlighted the importance of the line.

“The upgrade will provide a range of benefits for the community by increasing track capacity and improving reliability on the North Coast Line, reducing travel times for passengers and freight in the growing Sunshine Coast region,” they said.

Early works were completed last year, with the delivery of park ‘n’ ride facilities at Landsborough and Nambour stations, 300 car parks at Landsborough and 50 car parks at Nambour, a bus interchange at Landsborough Station and a realigned 1km section of Steve Irwin Way near Glass House Mountains.

The project is in the pre-construction and design phase.

John Holland Queensland and Seymour Whyte were appointed to undertake enabling works and finalise the detailed design for the Stage 1 rail duplication and associated roadworks.

Main works for Stage 1 will duplicate the section of track between Beerburrum and Beerwah, address level crossings on the alignment, expand the park ‘n’ ride facility in Beerburrum and undertake roadworks.

An upgraded North Coast Line would significantly improve freight services. Picture: Shutterstock

Detailed design is expected to be completed this year.

“The timing for delivery and staging of construction works will be finalised following the completion of detailed design and after a construction contract is awarded,” the spokesperson said.

Construction of Stage 1, which is expected to support more than 333 jobs, is due to be completed in 2027.

But uncertainty surrounds planned future stages of the B2N Rail Upgrade, including further improvements to the rail corridor and a possible duplication of the line between Beerwah and Nambour.

The Nambour Men’s Shed was told it had to move from its base next to the rail line in Nambour, while sports venues could also make way for a duplication.

“Future stages of the upgrade will be confirmed as part of the $6.25 million duplication study,” the spokesperson said.

“This study will review demand to develop a blueprint for investment on the North Coast Line beyond the completion of B2N Stage 1 to 2046.

“The pathway to full duplication will also be considered within this study.”

The B2N upgrade is expected to be just one part of improved transport in the region.

The line could eventually be duplicated to Nambour station. Picture: Steele Taylor

“B2N forms part of broader TMR planning for an integrated transport network that connects Sunshine Coast communities and joins the Direct Sunshine Coast Rail Line and Sunshine Coast Public Transport projects that are being planned together now to increase public transport opportunities for the growing Sunshine Coast community,” the spokesperson said.

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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