RDA WBB Director of Regional Development Scott Rowe (Photo: LinkedIn)

September 9, 2020

If the dream of a fast rail network servicing south-east Queensland was realised, the Wide Bay Burnett region could enjoy a boom in population.

A vision of fast rail being advocated by the South-East Queensland Council of Mayors has been supported by Regional Development Australia – Wide Bay Burnett’s Scott Rowe.

Mr Rowe said having the major cities of South-East Queensland accessible by fast rail would not only create jobs but result in a population boom for the Wide Bay Burnett.

Earlier this month the Council of Mayors – which includes Toowoomba Mayor Paul Antonio – restated its vision of having a fast rail network linking Brisbane to the Sunshine Coast, Gold Coast, Ipswich and Toowoomba.

The Council of Mayors first proposed the South East Queensland Fast Rail Network as part of its 2019 SEQ People Mass Movement Study. 

“Currently, the Citytrain network is stretched beyond its capability and struggles to effectively service the outer areas of south-east Queensland. While Cross River Rail will unlock the bottleneck that exists in the centre of the network, Citytrain is poorly placed to take advantage of this new capacity,” a statement from the Council of Mayors said.

“Citytrain New Generation rolling stock has an average running speed of approximately 60 km/h and a top speed of 140km/h. At these speeds, Citytrain is too slow to offer commuters in the outer rings of south-east Queensland a reason to leave their cars behind and use public transport.

“Fast Rail offers a realistic solution to this challenge, one that has been tried and tested with success in both Australia and abroad.

“The South East Queensland Fast Rail Network would be operating at speeds of 160km/h plus and delivering significant travel time savings compared to the Citytrain network.”

Mr Rowe said the Wide Bay Burnett was the largest population base outside south-east Queensland.

He said congestion was an economic inhibitor and any infrastructure which encouraged the use of efficient public transport would be a game-changer.

“While the fast-rail aspiration comes with a significant price tag, its overall economic impact in respect to a more efficient transport network, movement of freight, tourism visitation and expenditure, and the social and environmental benefits, would be enormous,” Mr Rowe said.

“It would also drive population to places such as Gympie where residents could live and still work in Brisbane city.

“Connectivity is key to population growth and with fast-rail technology constantly improving, this is a bold project with a grand vision.”

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