Sunday, October 29, 2017

Sunshine Coast Line Duplication - Reality Check

Add - Beware of Politicians! 
With the 2017 Queensland State Election campaign underway, there will be a few political footballs that involve public transport. The most critical is Cross River Rail (CRR), which is vital for increasing rail capacity through Brisbane's CBD by approximately 50% allowing for more services to run through Brisbane to/from the suburbs, and allows for passenger services on the Salisbury to Beaudesert Line. However, the project most likely to receive bi-partisan political support (at least until the day after the election) will be the duplication of the Sunshine Coast from from Beerburrum to Landsborough, or even Nambour. However, anyone who thinks that this is going to be problem solver for peak period passenger services to the Sunshine Coast, needs a reality check. These are the facts:
  • Current am peak service from the Sunshine Coast is approximately 3 trains per hour in the peak direction (tph), with 9 tph running through to Brisbane from Caboolture. These services share tracks with the Redcliffe Peninsula Line from Northgate through the CBD, running at 18tph, out of the maximum 20tph capacity. 
  • Proposed ETCS signalling will allow approximately 24tph reliably. This is only a 20% increase in track capacity to be shared between the Sunshine Coast Line, Caboolture Line, and Redcliffe Peninsula Line. 
  • Due to the limited spare track capacity between Northgate and Brisbane's CBD, there is little potential for increasing train services. Even with a duplication, the Sunshine Coast Line may just see 1 or 2 extra tph in the am peak. There would however be significant potential for increasing the current inadequate off-peak services. 
  • The only way of significantly increasing peak train services to/from the Sunshine Coast is to construct the "barely on the political radar" Trouts Rd Line / North Eastern Transportation Corridor, which would connect with CRR just North of Roma Street. This would cost in excess of $2b. 
  • Thus unless political parties support both CRR and the Trouts Rd Line, then duplicating the Sunshine Coast Line will have little benefit for increasing peak train services to/from the Sunshine Coast. The LNP and One Nation appear to be anti-CRR, and no political parties are makings series effort towards building the Trouts Rd Line. An LNP MP has been quoted as wanting to build a road along the North Eastern Transportation Corridor instead of a train line. 
  • The Sunshine Coast Line services a few hinterland villages and small town (Nambour). Whilst duplicating the line would have benefit for freight services, a better solution for passengers would be to construct the long planned CAMCOS Line from Beerwah to Caloundra and Maroochydore. 
It can be concluded that duplication the Sunshine Coast Line will have benefits for improving reliability, rail freight and off-peak passenger services. However, for any significant peak period service improvements, the Trouts Rd Line and Cross River Rail will be required. Without these two projects, the Sunshine Coast Line duplication may be a white elephant. To better service the larger population centres on the Sunshine Coast, will require the construction of CAMCOS to Caloundra and Maroochydore. Brave politicians will need to spend big to solve SE Queensland's transport woes, and allow SE Queensland to support growth and attract business to the benefit of Queensland's economy. 


  1. CAMCOS is the least likely line to built, and has taken the place of the Redcliffe line as the line never to built any time soon. A Hyperloop to Doomben is more likely to be considered before they even consider CAMCOS beyond Caloundra to Maroochydore.

    The SC duplication between Beerburrum and Landsborough (or Nambour) isn't really a white elephant when the main focus of the duplication is freight with the benefits to the state overall, with passenger benefits being only a major side-dish.

    The SC Mayor in the local media has made it clear he's more in favour of the Light Rail to service the local needs of the SC (servicing the more populated area of the SC), with the LR connecting to the Heavy Rail at Caloundra or Beerwah.

    The CAMCOS corridor is west of the major SC populated area north of Caloundra, still away from the major populated area and isn't very suited for local travel needs, with only SCU Hospital and the Mountain Creek education precinct (Schools, TAFE) being the only 2 known traffic generators on that alignment.

    A personal tip is that CAMCOS will only make it to Caloundra, with the SC Light Rail servicing the rest of the SC from there, pretty much following the existing frequent bus corridors with a slight diversion (or a Branch Line) into the SCU Hospital. This would free up the buses on that corridor as feeders from the inland suburbs of the Coast into the Light Rail and to the Heavy Rail terminus at Caloundra or Beerwah.

    As for the NCL mainline between Landsborough and Nambour, put the money on extended loops at the existing Stations.

  2. BrizCommuter is supportive of light rail alternatives to CAMCOS if they better serve the local population base and connect with the existing heavy rail corridor.

  3. Any chance I can get a bonus for actually turning up to work? I just heard drivers are getting a bonus for simply doing what they are already paid to do. Currently I don't get paid extra for doing what I'm paid to do, and that just isn't fair.


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