Fast train not viable

THE first findings of a five-month pre-feasibility study into the need for a fast-speed rail network between Gladstone, Rockhampton and Bundaberg have been released.

The Fast Rail Commuter Service Synopsis found Gladstone was in dire need of a reliable fast-speed transport network, but the town may not be able to sustain it.

If the project secures funding from the State Government, it is expected to enter the construction phase by 2014/15.

The Department of Transport and Main Roads insisted central Queensland did not have the population to support the network.

"Central Queensland does not currently have the population required to make the proposed commuter service economically feasible without significant ongoing funding from the state," a representative said.

Prepared by Tanner consulting for Capricorn Enterprise and Queensland Rail, the report looked into the viability of the project, long- and short-term demand for the project, other sectors that may benefit from service and potential private sector support. One of the main findings from the report suggested Gladstone may not have the workforce to support a new large-scale project, as people in industry wouldn't be interested in changing their roles.

"The projected labour force in the Gladstone LGA of 47,500 persons by 2012 would be insufficient by approximately 8000 people and seven years too late to cope with the possible demand for the workers," the report said.


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