Many of your readers would know that I have long campaigned for funds to complete the North Coast Rail Duplication and even held my own MP Train Day with Minister Scott Emerson in mid-2011 to highlight the need for this project and to hear feedback firsthand from regular commuters. Last month I did the trip again in order to get an update from travellers on their experiences and suggestions for improvements.
Whilst the North Coast Rail Duplication was raised by commuters, most people understand the message that our Government is focused on rebuilding the state’s finances before committing to definite dates for construction projects of this scale. I gave them my commitment however that I will continue to work with the Minister and his Department to do whatever I can to deliver this project before the estimated 2031 timeline.
There are some targets that I believe are more achievable in the short term one of which is better communication methods with passengers regarding on-train delays. Feedback from commuters was that much angst could be avoided if delays could be explained in transit. This did not occur while on my trip where we did experience delays, and I can appreciate the frustration this causes. Perhaps the most obvious and important factors for commuters utilising the Sunshine Coast line is the need to provide better am and pm peak hour express services. The last timetable review was implemented in 2011 and since then commuters have been voicing their disappointment at the removal of several express services from this timetable.
I have provided the Minister with a formal submission on behalf of the Glass House community seeking assistance with timetable issues in the first instance. The community can be assured this is next on my agenda however it is possible that changes could still be sometime ahead due to the ramifications such timetable alterations will have on the rail network as whole.
I will continue to provide feedback on this ongoing issue via my website – www.andrewpowell.com.au and would encourage those interested to sign up to my monthly eNewsletter.
Andrew Powell MP
Member for Glass House
Minister for Environment and Heritage Protection