Sunday, November 17, 2013

Brisbane Underground - more information revealed

Double decked bus and rail tunnel.
Last updated 25/11/2013 - 8pm - Public Consultation

More on the LNP Newman government's Cross River Rail (CRR) replacement - Brisbane Underground has been announced. This also has the working name of Underground Bus and Train (UBAT).

So what are the announced plans?
  • 15m diameter bored tunnel (one of the largest diameter rock tunnels in the world) between Dutton Park and Victoria Park (Herston), following a (cheaper to tunnel) George Street alignment through the CBD. 
  • Double deck tunnel with 2 lane busway and 2 train tracks.
  • Trains tracks - connected with Beenleigh/Gold Coast Line around Dutton Park, and Exhibition Line around Victoria Park. 
  • Busway - connected with Eastern Busway near Princess Alexandra Hospital, Inner Northern Busway near RBWH, and Legacy Way tunnel. 
  • Underground stations at Wooloongabba, George Street (Parliament/QUT end), and Roma Street. It is assumed that these would be double decked bus and train stations, constructed by "cut and cover" methods. 
  • Dutton Park station will be closed and demolished. 
  • $5m price tag - similar to "cut price CRR". 
  • Planned for 2015 start, and 2021 completion. 
  • Platforms long enough for 6 to 7 car trains. 
What is missing from the plans?
  • Station at Boggo Road/Park Road has been removed - was in CRR plans. 
  • Station at Spring Hill is still removed - was removed from CRR plans to reduce costs. 
  • No busway station or busway portal around Queen Street. 
  • Plans (and costs) on how trains will avoid Exhibition Line congestion between Victoria Park and Mayne/Bowen Hills, and how tracks will connect with Caboolture Line corridor. 
  • Plans (and costs) on associated infrastructure capacity enhancements in the Gold Coast/Beenleigh Line corridor - e.g. quadruplication between Salisbury and Kuraby, and duplication between Helensvale and Coomera. 
  • No connection with Legacy Way. 
So what are the advantages of the Brisbane Underground/UBAT plans?
  • Solves rail congestion across the Merivale Bridge (Park Road to Bowen Hills), as per the purpose of CRR - potentially allowing for more Gold Coast/Beenleigh/Cleveland Line services. 
  • Solves busway congestions on SE Busway via Cultural Centre (Mater Hill to Queen Street Bus Station section).
  • Removes buses from the Captain Cook Bridge. 
  • Solves all of the above, in one project. 
  • Improves public transport access to Wooloongabba, and Parliament/QUT end of Brisbane's CBD.
  • Allows improved access between CBD and Centenary Suburbs/Kenmore area via Legacy Way tunnel (although Legacy Way should have been connected with the Northern Busway anyway).
What are the problems with Brisbane Underground/UBAT plans, which need to be addressed?
  • Worse connections between Gold Coast/Beenleigh, and Cleveland Line corridor due to removal of Boggo Road/Park Road interchange from plans. Note: Access to UQ and PA Hospital is assumed to be unaffected if  passengers can change from rail to bus at the combined Wooloongabba station. This is dependant on bus network design, which hopefully will be removed from Brisbane City Council by the time Brisbane Underground/UBAT opens.
  • Northern Busway services would be able to bypass RCH Herston, QUT Kelvin Grove, and Normanby busyway stations. This is the busiest part of the Northern Busway, with QUT Kelvin Grove being a huge trip generator. Thus the busway portion north of Roma Street will be of limited use. 
  • No busway station around the busy Queen Street precinct. 
  • Does not assist with bus transport on East-West axis through CBD (e.g. buses that travel through CBD to Fortitude Valley (and beyond) - this was the purpose of the debatably required City2Suburbs bus tunnel, which Brisbane Underground/UBAT is intended to replace. 
  • Cost does not appear to include other associated rail infrastructure projects required to maximise its use (see what is missing section). 
  • Platforms cannot accommodate 9 car trains, as per CRR. 
  • Requires completely new design, accurate costing, and environmental impact assessments. CRR was "ready to process" aside from lack of funding. 
  • Construction needs to coincide with George Street redevelopments - limited timeframe for design and funding. 
To conclude. Brisbane Underground is potentially a cost effective solution that solves both rail and bus congestion, particularly from the South side. There are concerns about the removal of the station at Park Road, effectiveness of linking with the Northern Busway, lack of busway station around Queen Street, and shorter platforms than CRR. The cost of other associated rail infrastructure projects also needs to be made clear.

Project info on TMR website:
.pdf info on TMR website:
You Tube fly-through:

Public consultation open

Public consultation is now possible until 20th Dec 2013 at the following web page:


  1. I was amused by the gushing editorial in today's Sunday Mail, especially this quote:

    "TRANSPORT Minister Scott Emerson faced many obstacles as he battled with the Commonwealth to create a world-class public transport network that will take Brisbane forward for the next half a century."

    Biggest load of bullshite I have ever read. Far from facing obstacles, Mr Emmerson Created them himself. And world class transport network? No, it's still as chaotic, over priced and unreliable as it always was, thanks to Emmerson caving in to the BCC.

  2. L Paff: Also you could have added to your comment, that it is easy to say that you have removed all obstacles when all you have done so far is designed something on a sheet of paper and created a website. We shall wait and see and pass judgement when it opens for use on time and ON BUDGET!!!!

  3. Well it seems there maybe some big holes in Newman's plans according to this article from the Brisbane times.

  4. Based on recent history. I wondering if the Brisbane City Council decides eventually for some reason this is a bad idea, will the state government just roll over again like they did with the translink bus review?

  5. Btw, so if this project does get built as per the plans, what happens with Boggo Road and Park Road?

  6. L Paff - Certainly claiming that Brisbane has a "World Class" public transport system should amount to lying to parliament.
    Garvin - If the project goes the way of the plan, the Park Road/Boggo Rd will only be served by Cleveland Line, and limited Beenleigh Line services. Gold Coast, and some Beenleigh Line customers would thus have to change twice to get to the Cleveland Line.

  7. This the bus aspects of this entire project are laughable and reflect poorly on the Minister, TMR, the Mayor and the Council.


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