COMMUNITY concerns about the impact of increased freight trains through the Beaudesert and southern Logan regions as part of Australian Rail Track Corporation’s Inland Rail project were addressed this week by federal Member for Wright Scott Buchholz.
Last week, the Times reported on the imminent formation of a community working group to address resident queries.
According to Mr Buchholz, Inland Rail is a significant economic infrastructure project jointly funded by the government and private enterprise.
“ARTC have outlined that some of the 40 projected train movements will carry coal,” he told the Times.
“The trains will be 1.8 kilometres long on present rolling stock.”
If more trains are purchased in the future, they may reach a length of three three kilometres, Mr Buchholz said.
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According to Mr Buchholz, some of the benefits of the Inland Rail project include a projected drop in freight costs which would subsequently lower costs for consumers.
The removal of 200,000 truck movements per year would reduce congestion on highways and make them safer, he said.
Improved sustainability and amenity for the community are anticipated, from more than 750,000 fewer tonnes of carbon and reduced truck volumes in over 20 regional towns. The creation of 16,000 jobs in the construction phase and 700 more when fully operational were also benefits Mr Buchholz told the Times would come as a result of the project.
When asked if the freight of coal and other commodities would adversely impact any planned passenger services, Mr Buchholz said opportunities for passenger services are part of Inland Rail’s future.
“It’s early days yet with the first train expected to operate in 2024-25,” he said.
“I am very pleased that an extensive community consultation process is taking place as part of the planning and construction phase, providing the opportunity to raise local concerns.
“I would urge local residents who feel they may be impacted by the current route to make direct submissions to the Australian Rail Track Corporation and to find more details at their website.
“I have urged the ARTC to continue to work closely with our local communities to address and allay concerns, and I’ll continue to advocate on behalf of local residents,” he said.
For more information on ARTC and inland rail , go to the ARTC website at inlandrail.artc.com.au.