RAIL LINE ON TRACK

Pas­sen­ger trains on the cards

Gatton Star - - FRONT PAGE - Do­minic El­some

AFTER years of com­mu­nity pleas and lob­by­ing by lo­cal gov­ern­ment, the re­gion’s wish might be granted.

Lock­yer Val­ley res­i­dents have been de­mand­ing a pas­sen­ger train ser­vice for years and a new blue­print for the south­east has put a rail link on the cards.

But it comes at a high cost, and we won’t be see­ing the trains roll into the sta­tion any time soon.

VI­TAL rail links and a re­vamped War­rego high­way are on the cards for the re­gion as part of a multi-bil­lion-dol­lar in­fra­struc­ture plan.

The Trans­form­ingseq in­fra­struc­ture blue­print was pro­posed by the Coun­cil of May­ors South East Queensland, which in­cludes the Lock­yer Val­ley and Som­er­set re­gional coun­cils.

The blue­print high­lights 35 op­por­tu­ni­ties that could be con­sid­ered as part of a fu­ture City Deal for South East Queensland.

In­cluded in the plans are pro­pos­als for up­grad­ing the War­rego High­way and im­prov­ing bus ser­vices in the Lock­yer Val­ley re­gion.

But the head­line pro­posal for the re­gion is a pas­sen­ger rail link be­tween Toowoomba and Ip­swich.

Lock­yer Val­ley Re­gional Coun­cil mayor Tanya Mil­li­gan said the coun­cil would lobby for the rail project to be pri­ori­tised, as the com­mu­nity had been des­per­ate for a rail link for years. “Our com­mu­nity needs it,” Cr Mil­li­gan said.

For­mer Lock­yer Val­ley res­i­dent Chris Hein­jus was in favour of the rail link, and said a reg­u­lar ser­vice would bring im­mense ben­fits to the re­gion.

“(It) will be in­valu­able for those who are nor­mally iso­lated from places fur­ther afield,” Mr Hein­jus said.

He said tak­ing traf­fic off the War­rego High­way by of­fer­ing park and ride ser­vices would also ben­e­fit the re­gion.

The Fed­eral Gov­ern­ment last week an­nounced it would be­gin ne­go­ti­a­tions with the State Gov­ern­ment on fund­ing ar­range­ments for a South East Queensland City Deal.

Cr Mil­li­gan said it was a “very ex­cit­ing time” for the re­gion, and said gov­ern­ment col­lab­o­ra­tion was needed to com­bat the is­sues fac­ing the south-east.

“It’s about all three lev­els of gov­ern­ment be­ing re­spon­si­ble and work­ing to­gether,” she said.

❝ May­ors across south-east Queensland have been want­ing this for a very long time — Tanya Mil­li­gan

PHOTO: SCANRAIL

HIGH SPEED: The Lock­yer Val­ley could soon have a quick con­nec­tion to Bris­bane and Toowoomba.

PHOTO: DO­MINIC EL­SOME

EX­CIT­ING TIMES: Lock­yer Val­ley Mayor Tanya Mil­li­gan said the Lock­yer Val­ley com­mu­nity needed a rail link be­tween Toowoomba and Ip­swich.

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