A 200-kilometre high-speed rail line connecting Brisbane and the Sunshine Coast has become the hottest piece of transportation news of recent memory, after a report revealed that the fast-rail line could cut travel between Central Station and Maroochydore by hours. The Courier-Mail revealed last week that the North Coast Connect project had been short-listed by the Federal Government as a potential recipient of a portion of the National Rail Program’s $10-billion plan. This story also postulated that the approval of the North Coast Connect project could fast-track progress on Brisbane’s Cross River Rail project.
Currently, the plan is said to be composed of three parts. The first is an upgrade of the existing North Coast Line from Brisbane to Beerburrum with curve easing, level crossing removals and general upgrades. The second is an upgrade from Beerburrum to Nambour, which includes railway upgrades and a rejuvenation of railway towns in the hinterland. The final component involves a new passenger rail service that branches off at Beerwah, and will connect Brisbane to Beerwah East, Aura, Caloundra, Birtinya, Mooloolaba and Maroochydore along a 40-kilometre spur. Queensland Premiere Annastacia Palaszczuk has downplayed the immediacy of the fast-rail network, claiming she had yet to see any plans for the development.