Sunshine Coast Rail Line business case summary released

The Queensland Government has published a summary of the business case for the Direct Sunshine Coast Rail Line, releasing new details about the project. The summary includes further information about the technical solution, construction challenges and cost estimates.

The proposed line to Maroochydore is 37.8km of new dual track, narrow gauge rail line through greenfield and highly urbanised environments.

Other features include:

  • Approximately 17 kilometres of rail will be raised including viaducts and 24 bridges, to minimise flooding and environmental impacts, and to pass over local and arterial roads.
  • A 1.2 kilometre funnel at Little Mountain to minimise environmental and community impacts.
  • Six new stations at Nirimba, Caloundra, Aroona, Birtinya, Mountain Creek and Maroochydore with an upgrade also planned for Beerwah station.
  • Relocation and protection of major utilities such as power, water and sewer.
  • Construction in constrained urban environments.

Project cost estimates have also been released for each stage, with construction to Birtinya expected to cost approximately $8.4 billion and construction to Maroochydore approximately $12 billion.

The summary document confirms that construction of the full 37.8 kilometre rail line to Maroochydore would take at least a decade. It also shows that unless the line was built in stages, none of the stations would open to passengers prior to 2032.

The business case recommends a staged delivery of the rail line. Staging takes into account the length of the corridor, affordability and market capacity.

The business case tested staging to both Calounda and Birtinya by 2032, ultimately recommending staging to Birtinya. Although recommended, the summary notes the complex construction and engineering activities in building to Birtinya, presenting risks to the project
cost and timeframes, which could prevent the rail line opening by 2032.

Delivery alone between Caloundra and Birtinya is another 7.5km, including 4km of track on viaducts and 6 bridges, and building a 1.2km tunnel.

Based on this advice, the Miles Government has committed to delivering Stage 1, including building rail to Caloundra by 2032, protecting the revised alignment to Maroochydore, and further planning, environmental investigations and design.

Stage 1 also includes going to market to test the risk to construction timeframes and costs, for the section from Caloundra to Birtinya. If fully funded, in partnership with the Australian Government, Stage 1 would see at least 19km built prior to 2032 – more than half the rail line.

Stage 1 is expected to cost between $5.5 billion to $7 billion, with cost estimates to be finalised following further design development, market engagement and procurement.

The Queensland Government has committed an initial $2.75 billion to deliver the first stage of the project, which will require matching funding from the Federal Government before works can get underway. Stage 1 works are expected to commence in 2026, targeting completion by 2032.

The Federal Government has previously committed $1.6 billion towards the Direct Sunshine Coast Rail Line. The business case has been issued to Infrastructure Australia for their review and assessment.

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