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South-east Queenslanders hoping to catch a train over the Easter long weekend will need to rethink their plans, with the Brisbane inner-city rail network to be closed for crucial Cross River Rail works.
For the four-day long weekend from April 2, 11 train lines in Brisbane will be shut down, including the Airtrain service, and replaced by buses.
The closures are expected to affect up to 140,000 passengers and put extra pressure on south-east Queensland roads.
Cross River Rail general manager Matthew Martyn-Jones said to deliver the $5.4 billion project, the network had to be closed to do extensive track and construction work.
"It involves things like rewiring, re-signalling, cable works, actually lowering the track in some places, and also extensive drainage and sewage relocation work," Mr Martyn-Jones said.
Buses will replace train services during the Easter long weekend.(Supplied: Queensland Government
)Rail lines impacted are:
"We know from the data pre-COVID and now with COVID, that realistically we're looking at passenger loads being around about half, or even a bit lower than what they normally would be," he said.
Mr Martyn-Jones said Queensland Rail would also take advantage of the closures to perform other track works not related to Cross River Rail.
"There will be some impacts and some inconvenience for people but there will be some bus replacements run right across the network to make sure that people can still get to their destinations," he said.
"Cross River Rail is going to transform the way we travel right cross south-east Queensland, but there will be a little bit of pain to get there and what we're saying I guess to all commuters is, 'bear with us while transform the network'."
The closures also allow Queensland Rail to do other track works not related to Cross River Rail.(ABC News: Jessica Van Vonderen
)In addition to the Easter long-weekend closures, the Gold Coast and Beenleigh lines will be impacted next Tuesday and Wednesday, when commuters will likely return to work.
It is expected to disrupt the travel of about 18,000 people.
The Beenleigh line from Roma Street to Yeerongpilly will be shut down, while the Gold Coast from Roma Street to Altandi will be closed.
However, the Gold Coast line will run express between Roma Street and Altandi in both directions via the Tennyson line — this will add about six minutes to the journey.
"What we're saying to people is, 'plan your trip in advance and if you can work from home, consider working from home'," Mr Martyn-Jones said.
Queensland Transport Minister Mark Bailey warned this would not be the only full closure of the rail network, ahead of the Cross River Rail's planned completion by 2025.
"There will be the occasion full closure — we'll give people as much notice as we can and we'll run the bus service as well," Mr Bailey said.
"We do try to choose those low-volume times to do maintenance wherever we possibly can, so we tend to do quite a bit over the Christmas and new year period — Easter also."
Mr Bailey said this would not be the only full closure of the rail network ahead of the Cross River Rail's planned completion by 2025.(ABC News: Patrick Williams
)Airport disruptionsTravel to and from the Brisbane Airport would not be as easy during the Easter long weekend due to the closures but there would be alternatives.
Buses will be replacing the service, but RACQ spokeswoman Lauren Ritchie said several travellers were expected to hit the road for their journey to the airport.
The Airtrain service at Brisbane Airport will be replaced by buses over the Easter long weekend.(ABC News: Giulio Saggin, File Photo
)Ms Ritchie said people needed to start planning now.
"If you were heading out to the airport to take a flight somewhere interstate or around Queensland, don't be expecting to catch the train, because that line is closed over the Easter break," she said.
"You're going to have to think about adding a little extra time to the roads because there are going to be more people having to travel by ride-sharing, taxis or their own private transport to the airport.
"It is going to be an inconvenience, but this is a short-term pain for a long-term gain."
The RACQ says people needed to start planning other transport options over Easter.(ABC Radio Brisbane: Anna Levy
)Easter traffic jamEvery Easter holiday results in log-jammed thoroughfares such as the M1 or the Bruce Highway as people look to travel north to the Sunshine Coast or south to the Gold Coast.
Ms Ritchie said the rail network disruptions would only add to the headache for commuters.
The closures are expected to affect up to 140,000 passengers and put extra pressure on south-east Queensland roads.(ABC News: Phoebe Hosier
)"If you're coming from the north and you want to head to the Gold Coast to go to Dreamworld or anywhere you want to explore down there, train is going to be a little more inconvenient," Ms Ritchie said.
"It's still possible — there are buses replacing trains — but it is going to be a little bit more off and on and it might mean that travelling by car is more applicable to you.
"That has a flow onto our roads — the M1 on an Easter weekend is already bumper-to-bumper traffic.
Motorists are urged to plan ahead to allow extra time for travel as more buses are expected in inner-city suburbs.(ABC Brisbane: Jessica Hinchliffe
)"With buses replacing trains over this period, and a lot of buses going to be in that CBD area and surrounding inner suburbs, it means that those roads are going to be a little bit busier, so plan ahead, add a little bit of extra time to your journey."
Details of all the closures can be found on the Cross River Rail and Translink websites.
This article first appeared on www.abc.net.au
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