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TWO of Townsville’s politicians say passenger rail services should be considered for peak-hour commuting and to major events at the new North Queensland Stadium in the CBD.
Townsville MP Scott Stewart said he had made the suggestion to a committee considering transport solutions for the new stadium, while Townsville councillor Paul Jacob said he wanted to raise the idea of using existing rail corridors and installing portable stations in the Northern Beaches area to conduct a trial using diesel-electric trains.
Mayor Jenny Hill has also called for consideration of rail services.
“I think it is really worth looking at now that we have a stadium to open in a year’s time,” Cr Jacob said.
“I think it’s worth a trial.”
Mr Stewart said he had raised the issue with a stadium transport committee last year which was devising transport solutions for the new stadium.
Mr Stewart said the committee were looking at carparking hubs with bus shuttle services into the stadium but that they were also looking at alternatives like rail.
“It was a suggestion I put to them,” Mr Stewart said.
“Anything that can keep congestion out of that area during event times is worth having a look at.”
Townsville MP Scott Stewart suggested a rail service to a committee considering transport solutions for the new stadium.
Cr Jacob said he would put a proposal to the committee being led by Mr Stewart, which would be looking at public transport needs in Townsville.
“I would like to see the assets that we have currently got in rail being used, especially for major sporting events coming up, but also for the amount of commuters coming into the city,” Cr Jacob said.
“I think it can be done cheaply, and can be done on a basis, to start with, where we can trial a couple of light carriages.”
Cr Hill said yesterday public transport was “not just about buses”.
“We have a great rail network in and out of the city and out to Charters Towers,” Cr Hill said.
“If we are going to talk about future growth in public transport we need to make sure that that’s also part of the consideration.”
Townsville Mayor Jenny Hill said rail services needed to be considered in future growth of Townsville’s public transport network.
Cr Jacob said portable stations, which had been used elsewhere, could be installed at centres such as North Shore and Garbutt for a trial to gauge demand.
He said rail services would ease the burden on the road network and on existing public transport coming into the city for major events.
Cr Jacob said there was also potential for rail services using existing track to develop areas south of the city including Fairfield Waters, Wulguru, Elliot Springs and Alligator Creek.
“I think it can benefit more than half the city, especially the expanding half of the city in the Northern Beaches,” Cr Jacob said.
“Even now the traffic in the peak hours can delay you quite a bit.
“I’ve taken on board problems we have had with commuting. I can see future problems with public transport getting into football games at the stadium.
“If we can look at the problem now and identify whether we can start a trial, using the existing assets, then I think it would be worthwhile.”
Rail motors used to service regional towns surrounding Townsville but were phased out many years ago.
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