Thursday, August 19, 2010

Cross River Rail 2 vs Brisbane Inner City Metro

Prague Metro
Whilst the Cross River Rail project appears to be progressing, there is much confusion as to what is coming in the 2020s. The Inner City Rail Capacity Study - Pre Feasibility Report (2008) showed that by 2016 the first Cross River Rail tunnel was required to relieve capacity from the South (in particular the Gold Coast Line), and that by 2026 a second tunnel will be required to relieve rail capacity from the West (Ipswich and Springfield Lines). For the purposes of this article, I'll call the second tunnel Cross River Rail 2. Both tunnels would link with the existing heavy rail network, and allow for  increased rail capacity for commuters travelling from the suburbs to the inner-city, and also allow for journeys across the inner-city with a "metro like" service.

However, the Queensland Government also have another project on their website called the Brisbane Inner City Metro.
Within the CBD this line is planned to run along a similar route to Cross River Rail 2, but doesn't appear to connect to the existing rail network. A self-contained Inner City Metro would not solve Brisbane's biggest transport issue, which is to transport commuters from the suburban urban sprawl into the inner-city. Yes, it may be possible for passengers to change from the Queensland Rail network onto the Inner City Metro at locations such as Toowong, but this wouldn't help if the Ipswich/Springfield Line is full to capacity before the trains get to Toowong! There is some argument for metros allowing for closer spaced stations that heavy rail, but in reality few modern metros are built with stations spaced closer than 800-1000m anyway due to the huge cost of station construction. A heavy metro station built to 9-car trains, and with entrances at both ends could cover the area served by 2 metro stations. It would also be a huge waste of money to build both Cross River Rail 2 and Brisbane Inner City Metro along similar alignments.

BrizCommuter can see little argument for the Brisbane Inner City Metro as currently planned. Cross River Rail 2 would kill two birds with one stone  as it would cater for suburb to inner-city and inner-city to inner-city journeys. Many other major cities already run suburban heavy rail services through the inner-city in tunnels. Paris' RER system took heavy rail suburban rail lines that previously terminated at rail termini on the edge of the city, and connected them via inner city rail tunnels. Tokyo Metro offers reciprocal through services where suburban rail services can (instead of terminating) join a metro line, run through the inner-city along the metro tracks, and then in some cases continue onto another suburban rail line at the other end.  London is planning CrossRail, which will connect suburban rail lines on opposite sides of London. Munich, Hamburg, and Berlin S-Bahns also allow heavy rail suburban lines to run "metro like" services through the inner-city.

If the Trouts Road Line ever sees the light of day (it has been seen in at least one Queensland Government document), it could change the future routing of Cross River Rail 2, which could then allow for the Brisbane Inner City Metro. Other routing options for Cross River Rail 2 also need to be considered, in particular serving the University of Queensland. BrizCommuter hopes that any future decisions concerning Brisbane's rail network are based on accurate independent research.


  1. Great Info Regarding Metro,I Must Be Waiting For Your New Post.

  2. I generally agree with this article. I don't know if it feasible but I would like to see all suburban rail go underground 3 to 5 kms from the CBD. Then these lines could link in with a circle line that connects all the major inner city landmarks such as, RBH, Kelvin Grove Precinct, UQ, South Bank and Queen St Mall. This idea would release a massive amount of land that could be used for housing, retail, pedestrian and cycle paths. It's a mad idea but it could work.

  3. I don't think CRR2, as it applies to the western lines, is a good case for Trouts Rd line connection. The geometry is all wrong for a tunnel which runs roughly under Kelvin Grove and then Roma St. If anything, Trouts Rd should (and hopefully will) connect into CRR*1*, although this would displace many Ekka routings.

    Personally, I would prefer CRR2 to start at Corinda and run UQ-SBank-AlbertSt-Valley.

  4. How many roads,highways,tunnels and rails do we need? If everyone do more walking, we won't need them in the next fifty years. A lots of the prediction models are unreliable and not done in good faith. If the government can't afford to build them and have to be funded by the private sectors, forget about it. More debts means more inflation. No free lunch in this world.


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