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Commuters may not see the claimed benefits of Brisbane’s multi-billion dollar Cross River Rail when it opens in 2025 with authorities walking back on a previous pledge to cut travel times and refusing to reveal timetable details.
Six new or upgraded CBD stations will be built as part of the $5.4bn project, which in 2017 the State Government said would slash travel time into Brisbane by up to 15 minutes.
However, the Cross River Rail Delivery Authority – the group responsible for delivering the state’s largest infrastructure project – now says it is cannot say how much time commuters will save.
It comes amid growing speculation fewer trains will operate less frequently on the network than first mooted four years ago.
Heavy work is occurring at the Cross River Rail site at Roma Street. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Jono Searle
Cross River Rail has shifted its marketing with the previous slogan, “more trains more often”, dumped in favour of “transforming travel”.
However, a Cross River Rail Delivery Authority spokesman said the messaging had changed to better reflect the wider benefits of the project.
“These broader benefits include shorter journeys for commuters door to door,” he said.
“Cross River Rail will also create new high capacity rail stations in convenient CBD locations, better interchanges between bus and rail services and the improved viability of public transport as a means of travel, which is required to if we are ever going to ease congestion on our roads.”
Robert Dow, founder of peak advocacy group Rail Back on Track, said the government had remained silent on Cross River Rail service plans because it was unable to deliver the time savings originally promised – a claim the Delivery Authority denies.
“The government and Cross River Rail need to come clean and spell out what’s going to happen on the rail network, how it’s going to be organised and the frequencies of trains,” Mr Dow said.
“It’s a cover for the fact they’re not going to be able to deliver the services they hoped to and we don’t think there will be much in the way of travel improvements out of peak hour.”
Mr Dow said Queensland citizens who were footing the bill for the project “deserve transparency”.
Curtis Pitt, Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk and Jackie Trad reveal the details of Cross River Rail in 2017. Photo: Steve Pohlner
Transport Minister Mark Bailey said Cross River Rail would deliver benefits to commuters.
“The Department of Transport and Main Roads, the Cross River Rail Delivery Authority and Queensland Rail are working together to ensure the new and improved train services will integrate into the wider rail network,” he said.
“There will certainly be enough services to meet the needs of commuters, and experts from multiple agencies will determine the exact configuration and timing of rail services well ahead of Cross River Rail’s opening in 2025.”
This article first appeared on www.couriermail.com.au
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