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NOISE pollution generated by up to 50 freight trains hauling goods from Melbourne to Brisbane along the Inland Rail route from Gowrie to Calvert yesterday emerged as one of the main concerns from residents.
Australian Rail Track Corporation representatives held two information sessions in Toowoomba discussing the draft Terms of Reference on the tri-state project, during which residents raised concerns and sought clarification on the route from Toowoomba to the Lockyer Valley.
ARTC Gowrie to Calvert project manager Max Nichols talks to attendees of the Australian Rail Track Corporation Inland Rail Information Session: Gowrie to Helidon draft Terms of Reference at Toowoomba Library.
The impact on wildlife habitats, the proximity to portals and air pollution, as well as the possible impact on regional communities and rural lifestyles topped the list of issues identified from previous information sessions.
ARTC's Gowrie to Calvert project manager Max Nichols said first works on the proposed tunnel through the Toowoomba Range would likely occur mid-2019, but possibly be pushed back to the next year.
It would run 100m below the Toowoomba bypass in some parts, and the line would factor in future upgrades to existing transport networks such as the Warrego Hwy.
The Environmental Impact Statement phase of the project would take 12 months and include extensive consultation with the relevant communities.
Australian Rail Track Corporation ARTC Inland Rail Information Session: Gowrie to Helidon draft Terms of Reference at Toowoomba Library.
A six-month draft EIS stage would follow before final submissions would be open for feedback, he said.
The business case for the project used peak capacity modelling which allowed for 50 freight trains each day along the corridor by 2040.
About one quarter to one third of all trains using the route by 2040 would be 1.8km long and double stacked.
The line will also be open to transport other goods including agricultural produce and coal, the session heard.
ARTC Queensland engagement manager Penny Townley said procurement options for local businesses and contractors formed part of the social and economic assessment periods.
The ARTC will hold further information sessions today at the Lockyer Valley Cultural Centre from 1pm - 2.30pm, and 5.30pm - 7pm.
Submissions on the draft ToR are due by June 5.
Listening to questions are ARTC Gowrie to Calvert environmental manager John Herron and Queensland engagement manager Penny Townley at the Australian Rail Track Corporation Inland Rail Information Session: Gowrie to Helidon draft Terms of Reference at Toowoomba Library.
This article first appeared on www.thechronicle.com.au
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