Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Casino kills the BaT?

Just when you didn't think Queensland could have yet another transport failure, then here comes another one.

Nice casino, but where is the train station?
Casino operator Destination Brisbane Consortium (which includes Echo Entertainment Group) has been selected to build a massive new casino project along Brisbane's Queens Wharf. Fantastic news for this who like it throw away their money, eat overpriced food, and hopefully find a few new photo spots. Unfortunately, it is unclear as to what will happen to the planned underground train station on George Street. This was part of the previous LNP government's BaT Tunnel plan - the plan that forgot the interchange at Park Road. Since the BaT Tunnel/Cross River Rail is currently in limbo due to lack of LNP federal and ALP state government funding, it is unclear if the plans still allow for the construction of this station. If the underground station box is not constructed as part of this development, then it rules out the "cheaper" George Street alignment for Brisbane's urgently required rail tunnel, and will ultimately add to the cost of the tunnels construction due to property acquisitions being required elsewhere. 

It is also unclear as to whether the consortium is expected to fund or at least partially fund the construction of the station. In Europe this would be a given - for example the developers and occupiers of Canary Wharf in London placed a considerable amount of funding for the Jubilee Line. If the George Street station is not built at all, then that pretty much rules out any funding by a consortium that is not exactly lacking in funds. 

The casino is expected to open in 2022.  Even if the rail tunnel project suddenly had a kick-start, it is unlikely to be open before this date. Thus there will be a casino opening with no train station within approximately 12 minutes walking distance. This is in contrast to casinos in Melbourne and Sydney with Light Rail/Trams at the door. There might be a bus, but as this is Brisbane, it'll probably stop running at 5:30pm. 

As information is very much lacking, it cannot be completely ruled out that a station will be built and funded as part of the casino development. However it is looking in danger of joining a huge list of recent public transport failures in SE Queensland which include:
  • Time running out to fund the extension of Gold Coast Light Rail / G:link to Helensvale to be completed ahead of the 2018 Commonwealth Games. 
  • Failure to link Legacy Way tunnel with the Inner Northern Busway. 
  • Not enough trains to run a decent peak train service. 
  • Failure to implement an efficient bus network in Brisbane. 
  • Failure to provision an extension of the Doomben Line to Northshore Hamilton. 
Brizvegas continues with its backwards reputation. 

Note: BrizCommuter would like to state that he does not blame the chosen consortium for the looming public transport failure. The blame is well and truly placed in successive state and federal governments. 

Destination Brisbane webpage:

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