The state government is being urged to get moving on a duplication of the Cleveland rail line as warnings persist about the upgrade’s critical importance to Cross River Rail and the 2032 Brisbane Olympics.
The SEQ Regional Plan notes that a full duplication of the line will “ultimately” be required as part of improvement works to boost rail service frequency to Cleveland, but it fails to indicate when the upgrade could be delivered, with the matter instead listed for investigation at a later date.
Mayor Karen Williams said the government would need to ensure any future growth in the city was supported by a commitment to fund and deliver critical infrastructure upgrades, with the regional plan setting a dwelling target of 20,000 new homes in Redlands by 2046.
She told Redland City News this week that council would continue pushing for a duplication of the Cleveland line, adding that different transport connections in Redlands would be crucial for the Brisbane Olympics.
“It is a bit frustrating when we are being singled out for housing but they [the state government] have not done anything to deliver public transport infrastructure of any significance,” Cr Williams said.
“Cleveland is a principal centre and it could be a good transport-oriented development area, but unless they are delivering the public transport infrastructure, all it does is make our lifestyle less appealing with traffic congestion.”
Oodgeroo MP Mark Robinson said the government’s failure to deliver a duplication of the Cleveland line during consecutive terms in office had left commuters “stranded” and “stuck in the ever-increasing traffic grind”.
He warned that the Cross River Rail project, which is expected to open in 2026 and is being built at a cost of $6.3bn, would be of no benefit to Redlands without a long-awaited duplication.
“Labor has wasted millions on studies that have gone nowhere,” he said.
“The duplication of the Cleveland line is critical to increase the capacity of the passenger rail network now and in the lead up to the 2032 Brisbane Olympics and to reduce traffic congestion into the future as a legacy.”
Redland City News asked Transport Minister Mark Bailey’s office to clarify the statement included in the draft regional plan and to confirm the government’s position on a long-awaited duplication.
He was also asked whether a duplication could be delivered before the 2032 Games given Birkdale, which is located on the Cleveland line, has been earmarked to host canoe slalom events.
All questions were instead forwarded to the transport department for a response.
A spokesman said the SEQ Rail Connect document, released in 2022, outlined the government’s commitment to planning upgrades for improved reliability between Park Road and Cleveland in the five years following Cross River Rail.
“Rail investment in south-east Queensland is at record levels including investment in new trains, tracks, signalling and stabling,” a department spokesman said.
“The blueprint for the SEQ passenger rail network and investment priorities are outlined in SEQ Rail Connect.”
The spokesman said $4m had been allocated to Cleveland line upgrade planning in the Queensland Transport and Roads Investment Program, which would support the government’s “ultimate vision” of duplicating the Cleveland line.
However, he said any upgrades or improvements to meet population growth and service demand would depend on future funding and other investment opportunities.
The department’s response echoes comments made by Mr Bailey last year after he was asked in a question on notice to “advise on the critical need to duplicate the line from Manly”.
Mr Bailey said considerations for “additional track capacity” on the Cleveland line would depend on the outcome of planning work and “priorities across the network” – but did not mention a duplication.
“Cross River Rail will deliver reliability improvements for Cleveland line services by removing the existing conflict between Cleveland and Gold Coast/Beenleigh line trains at Park Road junction,” Mr Bailey said.
Redland City Council last year released a list of transport priorities as part of a federal election advocacy document which slammed rail travel in Redlands as “unviable” due to the single line between Cleveland and Manly.
“According to the South-East Queensland Regional Transport Plan, it is faster to drive to the Brisbane CBD than travel by public transport …,” a statement in council’s Let’s Collaborate document read.
“Duplicating the Cleveland rail line will ensure people can travel via rail effectively, reducing reliance on private vehicles and reducing congestion.”