Newspaper article Sunshine Coast Daily (Maroochydore, Australia)

Crucial Coast Study One of Only Three in Nation to Score Funds Light at the End of Tunnel

Newspaper article Sunshine Coast Daily (Maroochydore, Australia)

Crucial Coast Study One of Only Three in Nation to Score Funds Light at the End of Tunnel

Article excerpt

SCOTT

SAWYER

scott.sawyer@scnews.com.au

A FORTY-five minute train ride from Maroochydore to Brisbane has moved a massive step closer to reality with federal funding secured to develop a business case.

The North Coast Connect project, which the Daily can reveal is exploring aspects of both North Coast rail duplication and the CAMCOS corridor, was named as one of only three projects around the country to receive access to a $20 million cash stash.

Fairfax MP Ted O'Brien was hopeful a business case could be signed off in 12-18 months.

A four-player consortium of KPMG, Smec, Urbis and Stockland will be tasked with delivering on the business case, once the remaining half of the funding for the study can be secured, to match the Coast's about one-third share of the $20 million.

The balance of the business case funds are envisaged to come from either the state or local government, private sector, or a combination of the sectors.

The vision is to have fast rail servicing Brisbane-Nambour within five years and Brisbane-Maroochydore within a decade.

Once the business case is completed, Infrastructure Australia would assess the proposal, before determining how much of a slice of the national $10 billion rail fund to serve up for the North Coast Connect project.

The proposal would slash travel times from about two hours down to 45 minutes, increasing passenger capacity on new trains capable of reaching speeds of more than 160km/h.

New stations would be created on the Beerwah-Maroochydore line while towns like Nambour would be revitalised and freight capacity increased.

Mr O'Brien said early plans were for the Brisbane-Nambour stretch to be split into two stages, which would be developed concurrently with some overlap.

The first stage would include upgrades to the 64.5km of rail line from Brisbane-Beerburrum, as well as an upgrade of the 40km from Beerburrum-Nambour, including duplication of the North Coast Line.

The second stage touches on the long-touted CAMCOS corridor, creating a 40km 'spur line' of new track from Beerwah-Maroochydore, with new stations to be created. …

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