The Queensland Government in Australia has outlined its plans for a Direct Sunshine Coast Rail Line connecting some of the region’s “key growth areas” with the South East Queensland rail network. 

The 37.8km rail line between Beerwah and Maroochydore would improve rail connections to the Sunshine Coast region, including with capital city Brisbane and the Moreton Bay region, which is one of the fastest growing in the state. 

Queensland Premier Steven Miles said: “A direct rail connection to the Sunshine Coast will unlock thousands of homes in the growing Sunshine Coast region and accelerate the release of new, affordable developments. 

“Without the rail line, that development would bring an unmanageable level of congestion to the local road network, making this connection essential for new housing to be brought forward.” 

The Miles government’s plan for the line would see it built in stages beginning with a 19km dual track between Caloundra and Beerwah, on the existing North Coast line, that is projected to cost between A$5.5bn ($3.6bn) to A$7bn ($4.6bn).  

A business case for the project has been submitted to Infrastructure Australia, the national statutory body for infrastructure projects, and the state’s government is hoping that the Federal Government will add to its already committed A$1.6bn for the line to match Queensland’s A$2.75bn investment for the first stage. 

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A map showing the three planned stages for the Direct Sunshine Coast Rail Line. Credit: Queensland Government

Queensland is hoping the first stage will begin operations in time for 2032, when Brisbane will host the Summer Olympic Games, with new services planned to provide direct connections to the multipurpose Suncorp Stadium for the first time for Sunshine Coast residents. 

The Miles government is hoping that investment into a direct rail line for the region would take more cars off the road and reduce congestion. 

Transport Minister Bart Mellish said: “Direct Sunshine Coast Rail will revolutionise public transport – making a trip to from Caloundra to Brisbane at least 45 minutes faster than a car. For the first time, residents in the region will have a direct, fast and reliable connection to the South-East.” 

The Direct Sunshine Coast Rail Line will be one of the biggest current rail projects in the state when it begins construction, joining other projects underway such as the Cross River Rail line in Brisbane.