THERE are fears the proposed increase of heavy freight on the railway line through Flagstone will have a devastating impact on the suburb.
Concerns have led Logan councillor Trevina Schwarz to push for Australian Rail Track Corporation, the entity delivering the Inland Rail project for the federal government, to ramp up their community engagement.
Inland Rail – expected to be operational by 2025 – is the largest freight rail infrastructure project in Australia and will link Melbourne and Brisbane via regional Victoria, NSW and Queensland.
Wayne Gorman said he had built his home at Flagstone on a half acre he bought three years ago about 500 metres from the line.
“We knew the line was there, but never anticipated it being used for heavy interstate freight,” he said.
Resident Greg Smith said the project would impact homes, schools, day-care centres, old age homes and shopping centres with pollution from noise, coal and diesel fumes.
Developer Peet Limited’s managing director Brendan Gore said they would keep a close eye on the government’s plans to determine what the project would mean for Flagstone.
“Increased rail could bring more resources and jobs to the region – but we won’t be happy if that is at the expense of our community,” he said.
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Cr Schwarz said council had insisted ARTC meet with residents next year to provide information.
“They did a series of meetings before, but there was not enough lead-up time and they were not well advertised,” she said.
Cr Schwarz said there were safety and health concerns, especially as coal trains could use the lines.
“We are certainly not satisfied with what has been done so far,” she said. “I believe residents are not fully aware about what is being proposed.”
About 45 trains a day, says ARTC
THE Australian Rail Track Corporation says about 45 trains a day will travel on the rail line between Kagaru and Acacia Ridge as the Inland Rail project reaches full capacity in 2040.
An ARTC spokesperson said there were eight to 10 trains a day at present, mostly over the weekend to allow for Monday deliveries.
“Over the course of a week there are about 30 to 40 freight train movements depending on the time of year, for example, Christmas and Easter are busier periods,” the spokesperson said.
”Train numbers will rise gradually when Inland Rail commences operations, which is expected in 2025, to an expected peak number of 45 train movements per day by 2040.”
The Inland Rail project will use the existing freight line between Kagaru to Acacia Ridge and Bromelton.
The spokesperson said ARTC would do an environmental assessment, with field studies on dust and noise to begin next year. These would inform mitigation measures in the design.
“The design will be approved by Transport and Main Roads before enhancements commence.”
The spokesperson said more than 300 people had attended information sessions in July. Council representatives and state MPs had also been briefed several times over the last 18 months.
“ARTC is keen to work closely with the local community and more information sessions will be held as the project progresses.”
“We encourage people to contact us directly … on 1800 732 761 or firstname.lastname@example.org.”
In July, ARTC Inland Rail Queensland project delivery manager Rob McNamara said the line would be brought up to the Inland Rail standard. “It is anticipated that work … will involve lowering of the rail under five bridges at Beaudesert Road, Learoyd Road, Johnson Road, Middle Road and Pub Lane, construction of two new crossing loops and the extension of the current Greenbank and Bromelton crossing loops,” he said.