In a press release today, Premier Anita Bligh and Transport Minister John Mickel have announced the findings of the Inner City Rail Capacity Study. The study itself hasn’t been released to the public yet (stay tuned!) but the press release and associated maps released to MX newspaper confirm the basic study findings: the need for one new cross-city corridor from the Gold Coast line by 2016 and a second new corridor from the Ipswich Line to the Caboolture line by 2026.

The whole lot is expected to cost over $14 billion, and Infrastructure Australia (the Federal government’s infrastructure fund) is being asked to contribute.

The press release also releases some interesting figures that show the scale of the demand:

Ms Bligh said the Inner City Rail Capacity Study found that in 2006 more than 44,000 people used city train services each day during the two hour morning peak period.

“By 2016 demand is forecast to reach between 70,000 and 80,000 people in peak periods and by 2026 increase further to between 105,000 and 130,000 people,” she said.

I’m quite excited the project is slowly being released, but I am a little worried that it might be being oversold with phrases like “world-class 21st century underground rail network”.

What the project is is a way of providing capacity in the congested inner city for services from the outer suburbs. Along the way, there are a few underground stations to tap into various opportunities, but it is not really an underground ‘network’ as such.

Edited to add

Immediately after posting this, I discovered that the project web site has been updated with various documents. I am a bit surprised at what has been released and for the truly geeky I would recommend the “rail operations review” (warning: 5MB pdf file)