Sunday, December 6, 2020

North West Transportation Corridor - 4 Tracks Please!

Screenshot: BCC
Brisbane City Council (BCC) is currently running a survey on options for the North West Transportation Corridor (NWTC), also known as the Trouts Road corridor. This corridor runs from Everton Park to Carseldine. BCC state that "The Australian Government has committed up to $10 million to the development of the north west transport network business case. Funding through the Major Project Business Case Fund is supporting Council to investigate the transport needs of this growing region, including opportunities to utilise the existing North West Transport Corridor, to inform future government investment in road, public and active transport". Concerningly, whilst this corridor appears to be BCC owned land, the policy for its long term use should really be under the Queensland State Government jurisdiction. At least it is good that discussion is finally happening for this vital transport corridor, but making the wrong decision due to multiple levels of government would be highly detrimental for SE Queensland.

Thankfully the two most popular options are for either the NWTC to be utilised for a train line and bikeway, or mixed use - train line, bikeway, and road. The "1960s style" road only options appear to thankfully be lacking in popularity - sorry Tim Mander! The road options would also just feed more traffic to the bottlenecks of South Pine Road/Wardell Street,  Samford Road, and Stafford Road. BrizCommuter does not support roads along the NWTC corridor other than (single lane per direction) local roads, and roads serving train station car parks.

The NWTC is vital for rail for two reasons:

  • It allows local train services to serve Northern Brisbane Suburbs that are currently lacking in decent public transport. This could easily support an estimated 8 trains per hour per direction (tph) worth of local peak period services, which would initially be routed via the Ferny Grove Line from Bowen Hills to Alderley. This was expected as the Ferny Grove Line is likely to have full use of the Suburban tracks through Brisbane post-Cross River Rail.
  • It allows more frequent and faster express services (Fast Regional Rail) from the Sunshine Coast to Brisbane via a future rail tunnel from Everton Park to join Cross River Rail near Victoria Park. Currently the Caboolture Line has capacity for 10tph, so allowing for future rail to Caloundra and Maroochydore, provision for at least 16tph would be required. 

Unfortunately the plans provided only show 2 tracks along the NWTC. If there were 5 local stations,  express services would get stuck behind the local services if there were more than 6tph express and 6tph local services (12tph total). As stated in the dot points, the line would need to be able to cater for at least 24tph. Thus it is a no brainer that the NWTC needs to be designed to allow 4 tracks to be constructed along the corridor so that express services can overtake the local services. This may not be required at opening, but it is critical that the design allows a pair of express tracks to be easily added without having to knock-down or re-build any infrastructure along the corridor at a later date.  

Cross section only shows 2 tracks

 

Another concern (particularly for property owners) is how will the junction with the Ferny Grove Line at Alderley be configured? This area has complex road, rail, and stormwater limitations.  It is likely that many properties in this area will need to be resumed, and road layouts changed. Whilst this is required for progress, the authorities need to come clean now on what will need to occur in this area. 

To conclude:

  • It is vital that the NWTC is used for rail, for both local services, and fast rail from Brisbane to the Sunshine Coast. 
  • It is vital that the NWTC corridor is designed for 4 tracks, and for the additional tracks to be easily added at a later date if not constructed at opening. 
  • Infrastructure requirements and property resumptions at Alderley need to be clarified to the public.

5 comments:

  1. +1 Given other urgent infrastructure priorites, I can understand opening as dual track, but it would be lunacy not to design the corridor to become quad track in future. I'm always astounded by the lack of foresight in building a rail line to a certain capacity and then developing right up to the threshold so it can never be expanded (without massive resumptions and disruption). Same as not adding NWTC stubs to CRR. Argh!! You'd think some lessons would have been learned from the situation Beenleigh line is in.

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    1. Sadly long term thinking isn't a thing with QLD politicians.

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  2. With Victoria Bridge now closed to vehicle traffic and a credit scheme in operation for Go between Bridge, plus many other issues, I wonder when this blog will be updated?

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    Replies
    1. Sorry, but BrizCommuter has a full time job, wife, multiple kids, and other interests. This blog is the least of his concerns at times.

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  3. how long do you think this project does take to be completed?

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