Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Trouts Road corridor - the key to unlocking SE Queensland?

Trouts Road Corridor 
The North West Transportation Corridor, also known as the Trouts Road Corridor is a strip of land running through Brisbane's Northern Suburbs designed for future transport development. Originally planned as a freeway back in the 1970s , it was more recently featured as a rail line in the previous ALP's government's Connecting SEQ 2031, released shortly before the end of there last tenure. Little had been heard about this transport corridor during the LNP tenure, and the seemingly abandoned BaT tunnel design did not have stubs to allow it to continue towards the Trouts Road Corridor. Sadly due to political ineptitude from both sides of politics at both state and federal level, Brisbane's cross city rail tunnel is currently dead in the water. However, this could at least provide some opportunity for re-thinking the requirements.

To maximise long term capacity on all of the present and future northern railway branches (Sunshine Coast/Caboolture, Kippa-Ring, Shorncliffe, Airport, Doomben, and Ferny Grove) the options are as follows:

via Exhibition, Albion, and Northgate
  • Additional tracks and a grade separated junction would be required between the Victoria Park BaT/Cross River Rail portal, and Albion. This area is already partially developed, and track amplification would be very expensive. 
  • An additional two tracks (6 total) would be required between Albion and Eagle Junction. This area is almost fully developed, and track amplification would again be very expensive. 
  • An additional track (4 total) would be required between Northgate and Petrie. This area is partially developed and an additional track would be expensive. 
Note 1: Assumptions are made that between Eagle Junction and Albion that Caboolture/Sunshine Coast would require a track pair, Kippa-Ring/Shorncliffe would require another, and Airport/Doomben/(+Ferny Grove) would require the other. ERTMS signalling would allow for up to 24tph on each track. 

Whilst increasing overall network capacity, this plan would not decrease peak journey times for commuters on any line, and would not provide any expansion of the rail network.  

via Trouts Road Corridor (North West Transportation Corridor)
  • The BaT/Cross River Rail tunnel would ideally be routed towards a tunnel portal north of Alderley, with a station at Kelvin Grove. As with any tunnelling, this would be very expensive, but opens up a new catchment to rail travel. 
  • Three tracks would ideally be required along the Trouts Road corridor (peak direction express track for Sunshine Coast/Caboolture services to overtake local Strathpine to City services). Few property resumptions would be required, as this is a reserved transport corridor. It would open a huge new catchment to rail travel. 
  • An additional track would be required between Strathpine and Petrie, along with a grade separated junction and reversing facilities at Strathpine. 
Assumptions: Assumptions are made that Caboolture/Sunshine Coast/Strathpine local services would use the Trouts Road Corridor, Kippa-Ring/Shorncliffe would use one of the existing track pairs between Northgate and the CBD, and Airport/Doomben/(Ferny Grove) would use the other existing. ERTMS signalling would allow for up to 24tph on each track. 

Benefits: This plan would considerably increase overall network capacity, would significantly decrease peak and off-peak journey times for Sunshine Coast/Caboolture Line commuters travelling to the CBD, and would provide a huge expansion of the rail network with new stations around Kelvin Grove, Everton Park, Flockton Street, Hamilton Road, Albany Creek Rd, and Carseldine (West). 


BrizCommuter would estimate that whilst building the Trouts Road corridor in the near future would be more expensive in the short-term. However, the long term cost/benefit of the two options would sway in favour of Trouts Road corridor as it would remove the need for unnecessary enhancements between Exhibition and Strathpine via Northgate.

BrizCommuter is somewhat pessimistic that we will see a new cross Brisbane rail tunnel built for a long while, however when plans do come to fruition, it should be designed with Trouts Rd corridor in mind instead of running trains via Exhibition, Albion, and Northgate. 

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