If you were on a train station between the Port of Brisbane and Wulkuraka early on Friday afternoon you may have seen the first of Brisbane’s new trains that have cost taxpayers more than $4 billion.
The first of the sleek-looking six-car set of Queensland’s Next Generation Rolling Stock, arrived at the Port of Brisbane on Friday morning and slowly made their way to the railway workshops at Wulkuraka, just to the west of Ipswich.
Ipswich is Queensland Rail’s traditional home, with the first rail trip running from Ipswich to Grandchester in 1865.
This is now where Bombardier, the company which won the $4.4 billion contract, has built a new state-of-the-art rail maintenance facility.
wo weeks ago Transport Minister Stirling Hinchliffe showed media inside a mock-up of the carriages and on Friday the first train arrived from India.
Just after lunch on Friday Brisbane’s new train took to the rail tracks for the first time, running from Fisherman Islands, to Lindum, to Dutton Park, to Yeerongpilly, across to Corinda, then to Ipswich and out to Wulkuraka.
And for the purists, it left at 1.58 pm and arrived at Ipswich a little after 3.20pm after some preliminary braking and testing.
Over the next three years, 75 of the six-car sets will become part of the Queensland Rail fleet, allowing some of the older rail cars to be retired.
Transport Minister Stirling Hinchliffe watched as the first of the new carriages were unloaded at the Port of Brisbane and added to anm older-generation diesel engine.
“Before it moved off, the train had to undergo a series of safety tests which included having its air-hose pressure and brakes tested ready for it to be hauled by the locomotives,” Mr Hinchliffe said.
The major rail testing centre is at Wulkuraka, he said.
The tests include the new train’s operating systems and passenger comfort features.
That means the seats, the train and carriage doors and the performance of the braking and traction systems.
“One of the most important elements of the trains is the ‘full-load capacity’ braking system test to meet Australian standards under a range of environmental conditions and speeds,” Mr Hinchliffe said.
Robert Dow from the public transport lobby group Rail Back on Track welcomed the new trains. He looked through the exact replica a week ago at a community open day at Wulkuraka.
“At last we might be starting to turn a corner,” Mr Dow said.
“We need to significantly boost our rail system in SEQ if we are to manage our transport needs as a community.”
Mr Dow predicted Queensland Rail would fast-track the additional 25 new trains, on top of the 75 that will be received in the first three years of the contract.
“We think the option for the additional trains needs to be exercised sooner than later.”
Rail Back on Track suggest the guard station in the rear new trains may need some modification.
“This will mean some changes in operating practices,” he said.
The first new train goes into service in the second half of 2016.
Original Publish: http://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/
BUDGET: Cash splashed to fix Ipswich’s congested highway
ONE of Ipswich’s worst intersections will be fixed with the Federal Government committing to fund an upgrade to the Cunningham Highway.
In his third budget, Treasurer Scott Morrison revealed $170 million would go towards improving the dreaded Amberley Interchange.
The project will include a realignment of the highway between Yamanto and Ebenezer Creek and an upgrade of the Ipswich-Rosewood Rd.
Expansions and growing military activity at RAAF Base Amberley has put pressure on the interchange.
The $170 million funding injection also comes as the Ipswich City Council considers a proposal from Lantrak to move 1 million tonnes of landfill each year to rehabilitate the New Hope coal mine at Jeebropilly.
According to the application more than 250 heavy vehicles would transit the highway each day.
The government says the Cunningham Highway upgrade will “improve travel reliability and reduce congestion”.
It is expected the Queensland Labor Government will match the funding to start the $340 million project.
Federal Labor MP Shayne Neumann confirmed his party would offer bipartisan support and also commit to fixing the highway in a “major boost for the economic capacity of the Ipswich region”.
“The road takes 2700 heavy vehicle movements a day, and plays a significant role in transporting people and freight between Brisbane and Sydney,” he said.
“These vital upgrades to the Cunningham Highway have long been identified on Infrastructure Australia’s Infrastructure Priority List.
“That’s why it’s disappointing the Turnbull LNP Government have had to be dragged kicking and screaming to fund this project.”
Become an entrepreneur
OLDER residents in Ipswich will be encouraged to become entrepreneurs so they can stay in the workforce longer.
The Federal Government will roll out 20 new entrepreneurship facilitators across the regions over the next four years.
Ipswich, along with central Queensland, Ballina and Tweed, will benefit from the program.
The small business experts will teach mature-age people how to start and maintain sustainable businesses.
The Federal Government has set aside $2.7 million in the 2018-19 financial year for the project.
A further $15 million will fund the program until June of 2022.
The government has also committed to continuing the Job Change project that assists mature-age workers to remain in the workforce as retirement and pension ages creep upwards.
Amberley cashes in on Defence spending
RAAF Base Amberley will take a share in millions of dollars in upgrades in the Defence portfolio.
A new Air Traffic Control Radar will be installed at Amberley as part of an estimated $96 million investment in new technology across several bases.
Working accommodation, maintenance, warehousing and training facilities will be built to support the introduction of the Growler Airborne Electronic Attack Capability aircraft.
The project is scheduled for completion by early 2021.
A C-17 maintenance facility, aircraft apron and associated infrastructure will also be constructed.
It is scheduled for completion by early 2019.
Australia’s largest solar farm planned near Ipswich
Somerset already hosts a number of energy projects including hydroelectric plants at Wivenhoe Dam and Splityard Creek Dam.Contributed
AUSTRALIA’S largest solar farm has been proposed for a rural site near Ipswich.
The proposed plant, east of Harlin along the D’Aguilar Highway, would have final capacity of 1,500 megawatts, six times larger than its closest rival.
Plans include two substations and the capacity to hire to 60 people.
The Sunraysia solar farm in NSW is Australia’s largest under construction, at 250 megawatts.
Other Australian solar farms of up to 1,000 megawatts have been proposed.
Somerset Mayor Graeme Lehmann said it was a complex development application from Ethos Urban planning consultants.
The company has been involved in other large infrastructure projects throughout Australia, on behalf of Sunshine Energy Australia Pty Ltd.
“We understand the attractions of the site include its proximity to the existing high voltage power network and proximity to Brisbane,” Cr Lehmann said.
“The site has been largely cleared in the past and is within one hour of the 570 MW pumped storage hydroelectric plant at Splityard Creek which is also in the Somerset Regional Council area.
“The development application includes two substations, facilities for up to 60 employees and provision for battery storage.”
“The application has been referred to various government departments and agencies for their input and we will carefully assess it against our planning scheme like any other proposal.”
Somerset Regional Council is reviewing the application.
Education City link approved by Ipswich Council
A FOOTPATH that will link Springfield’s Education City to the Robelle Domain Parklands in Springfield Central has been approved by Ipswich City Council.
Plans were lodged by Springfield Land Corporation on February 2 this year and first approved on February 26.
However Ipswich City Council did not approve the use of Hoop Pines to landscape the pathway.
After some negotiating a new decision notice was issued on April 9 with the condition stipulating that Hoop Pines were not to be used deleted.
The land where the pathway is being constructed is lot 810 Sinnathamby Boulevard, Springfield Central.
Described as an open space boulevard pathway, the public concrete path and associated landscaping work has been approved in full subject to conditions.
Footpath lighting is to be installed, and a spotter catcher is to be engaged to supervise vegetation removal and ensure any native fauna including native bees are identified and relocated.
The spotter catcher is to submit a report before and after vegetation clearing works are undertaken detailing what wildlife has been identified and preventative and remedial actions taken to ensure animal safety.