Started by ozbob, October 22, 2015, 02:51:59 AM
QuoteQUEENSLAND'S Deputy Premier has given a vague timeline on when upgrades to rail tunnels on the Toowoomba Range will take place.Answering questions from the floor at the Local Government Association of Queensland's 119th annual conference, Jackie Trad said her department was working through logistical issues.She said the government would start the project before an aging councillor retired.Balonne Shire Mayor Donna Stewart questioned the Deputy Premier on whether the government had funded a proposal to lower the floors of tunnels which take freight down the Toowoomba Range.Cr Stewart said farmers in south-western Queensland wanted to export more food but needed better freight efficiencies. "In particular through the south western line... there is a big issue with regards to container heights," she said."They are (the containers) going to increase in height and they will not get down the Range with the current height of the tunnels."I was wondering... when we might see that work commence?" she asked.International shipping companies are transitioning from using 8'6" containers to new 9'6" containers.Cr Stewart was echoing comments by Interlink SQ chief executive officer Michelle Reynolds who last week called for the government to fund the tunnel upgrades.Interlink SQ is in the process of building a $235 million rail transfer station in the Toowoomba Enterprise Hub.Ms Trad confirmed the Queensland Government had allocated money in the budget for the upgrade project."It won't be long before we can engage with you seriously about the projected work plan."She said the government was committed to increasing the food and fibre target in Queensland."We know that freight is a significant part of that," she said.Ms Trad said the government had concessional arrangements in place which provided subsidies for freight and livestock rail transportation."You won't have to wait too long Donna, hopefully we can start engaging with you before you retire."
QuoteUPDATE: A $50 million upgrade of Toowoomba Range rail infrastructure will take 25,000 trucks a year off south-east Queensland's roads, according to the State Government.Minister for Transport and Main Roads Scott Emerson made the announcement in Toowoomba.Mr Emerson said the investment in rail infrastructure was aimed at the agricultural sector in a bid to get crop transport off the roads and onto rail."The industry has told us this is what they wanted," Mr Emerson said."It is about getting the grain and cotton trucks off the roads."This is a great win for grain and cotton producers as it will provide the most significant increase in train paths in decades," he said.Mr Emerson said the investment was made possible after re-negotiating existing contracts with Aurizon."Up to 20 additional train paths per week will be made available for farmers," he said."We particularly want to see the agricultural sector using rail instead of roads."This will result in about 100,000 less trucks using James St over the next four years."Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry John McVeigh said this was a major win for grain and cotton producers across the region."We have been working on an agricultural strategy for more than six months," Mr McVeigh said."This is what the industry has told us they wanted."Toowoomba is already a freight gateway for western Queensland and this will allow us to get the balance right between road and rail," he said.Member for Toowoomba North Trevor Watts said once the project was up-and-running residents would notice a difference on the city's roads."At grain and cotton harvesting times, this will take significant pressures off James St and the Toowoomba Range," he said.Fast facts Two new rail passing loops to be built at Harlaxton and Ballard. Will cost about $50 million and will be up-and-running within two years. Each rail passing loop will be about one kilometre in length.EARLIER: UP TO $50 million will be spent on Toowoomba Range rail infrastructure by the Queensland Government, funding extra passing loops for crop-hauling trains.Transport Minister Scott Emerson and Agriculture Minister John McVeigh jointly announced the deal today to improve the way farmers moved their produce.Mr Emerson said it was a win for grain and cotton farmers, who would benefit from the largest increase of rail paths "in decades".It was part of the government's plan to improve rail support for agriculture, which included more cattle services between travelling from Winton or Cloncurry to Brisbane.Mr McVeigh said the $50 million come from savings made from re-negotiating freight contracts.It meant 20 extra train paths would be available for farmers wanting to move their crops by rail instead of by road."Toowoomba is already a freight gateway for western Queensland and this will allow us to get the balance right between road and rail," Mr McVeigh said.
QuoteEXCLUSIVE: Multi-million dollar works on 11 rail tunnels from the Toowoomba to Little Liverpool ranges have started, creating 100 jobs over the next 12 months.State Transport Minister Mark Bailey said the $48 million project would lower the heritage listed tunnels and expand freight potential from the Darling Downs to the Port of Brisbane.The works will include a scheduled track closure at the end of the month, and will see the tunnels, built in the 1860s, lowered to allow 2.9m high freight shipping containers direct access from the Darling Downs to the Port of Brisbane."The first tunnels will be lowered during a major track closure in April," Mr Bailey said. "This project has the potential to help reduce the quantity of heavy vehicles required to transport freight on the highway from South West Queensland to the port, improving safety and reducing the impact on our roads."This project is a huge vote of confidence in the future growth of agriculture in the Darling Downs and South West Queensland regions which currently produces around a third of Queensland's agricultural output and is a major area for cotton."InterlinkSQ CEO Michelle Reynolds said the funding and works were catalysts towards a reinvention of the rail freight industry."The tunnel upgrade forms an important building block in the future of rail freight," she said.Works are expected to take 12 months on the nine Toowoomba and two Laidley tunnels, with Queensland Rail to work with BMD Constructions.
Quote from: verbatim9 on February 09, 2018, 00:17:21 AMWonder if there will be extra room after lowering the tunnel floor for future electrification?
QuoteMODERN containerised grain, cotton coal and other commodity freight will, for the first time, run down the Great Dividing Range when a $77 million upgrade to Toowoomba rail line is complete next year.The Queensland Government spent the past year lowering and widening 11 heritage tunnels along the range, to allow larger, 9'6" containerised freight train to run from the Darling Downs to the Port of Brisbane.A further $37 million was spent stabilise sections of the rail line, near Spring Bluff.The project is expected to be complete in time for the 2020 cotton harvest.The two projects generated an estimated 230 jobs.While the rail line had been use to cart coal and other agricultural products in the past, with tunnels dating back to the 1800s, the tunnels were too narrow for modern container carriages to pass through.Transport and Main Roads Minister Mark Bailey said the widened tunnels would benefit communities from Toowoomba to Western Queensland."The Darling Downs and Southwest produces almost a third of our state's agricultural output, and it is vital we continue to support the jobs, businesses and industry it creates," he said."The Palaszczuk Government is backing our producers and world-class exports with a more competitive freight system."Existing tracks along the tunnels have been replaced with pre-cast concrete slabs, which require less maintenance, and final enabling works are now being completed, with expected completion in early 2020.The Toowoomba range is a geographically challenging section of the state rail network, with the upgrades designed to make the range more resilient to wet weather and unplanned disruptions.
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