It remains to be seen how service volumes change under Cross River Rail. Critics have questioned whether the project could deliver more than 24 trains an hour after earlier, and more expensive, designs promised up to 30 trains an hour.
The Cross River Rail Delivery Authority – the semi-government agency delivering the project – insists the long-awaited upgrade will provide the flexibility needed for south-east Queensland.
In October, the government honored a 2020 promise to build an additional 65 trains in Maryborough. The first 20 will be needed for Cross River Rail.
Bailey said all new services under Cross River Rail would travel via Roma Street, either through the existing station or below-ground platforms.
“This will be a big change for some customers,” he said.
“But it presents many opportunities, especially when considering the sheer level of investment and good jobs that will be supported.”
The Gold Coast to Sunshine Coast line will service the new Boggo Road, Woolloongabba and Albert Street stations, also running through upgraded Roma Street and Exhibition stations.
The line, which will have three tracks in the inner-city but only two outside, is also subject to proposed extensions in the south (Salisbury to Beaudesert line) and the north (Beerwah to Caloundra and Maroochydore).
The Ipswich line recognized the proposed extension past Springfield, where a 25-kilometre loop back into central Ipswich through the fast-growing Ripley Valley is now being evaluated. It will have three tracks between Indooroopilly and Eagle Junction.
The announcement comes as Brisbane City Council reviews its bus routes. Connectivity between the two modes of transport will be crucial to cater for ongoing population growth in the region, with new transport hubs expected to support more residential development.
Bailey said Cross River Rail would employ 1,700 Queensland subcontractors providing 7,700 jobs by mid-2025.
He said $7.2 billion transport funding over the next four years included planning for rail extensions.
“The Rail Connect plan is headlined by projects like the Beerburrum to Nambour and Kuraby to Beenleigh track duplications, the Gold Coast Light Rail stage three, station
upgrades across Queensland, plus manufacturing 65 new trains in Maryborough,” he said.