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.
- 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.