Mackay Daily Mercury

Rail vision 'alive and well'

BACKERS of a rail link from Warwick to Brisbane claim a decision by Australian's national rail authority to recommend that a major new inland railway should go through Toowoomba is not a setback.

The Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC) says a planned Melbourne to Brisbane inland railway should bypass Warwick and instead go through Toowoomba and into Brisbane from the west.

But proponents of the Cunningham rail Link say a railway linking Warwick with major new industry south of Brisbane could still come off a major new inland route and will continue to push for it.

Dave Cooke - who is redeveloping Warwick's old woollen mills site said yesterday it had "always been expected" ATRC would favour a Melbourne to Birsbane line going through Toowoomba.

"We've never said it shouldn't," Mr Cooke rold the Daily News.

"But there is no reason we can't add on the line we are pushing to link both Warwick and the Northern Rivers region of New South Wales to Brisbane as well.

"Our proposal is still alive and what ATRC has recommended takes nothing away from it."

Mr Cooke restated his vision for a line coming off a Melbourne to Brisbane railway near Inglewood and passing through Wariwck, Killarney and Woodenbong before hitting the massive Bromelton industrial area south of Brisbane, then the Port of Brisbane itself.

He said he had yesterday met with Queensland Main Roads Minister Craig Wallace about the plan, including the need for an updgrade to the Mr Lindesay Road through northern NSW which he said was just as important.

"He was very excited and we will keep pushing this plan because it will mean more jobs for this region," Mr Cooke said.

Mayor Ron Bellingham said he was "disappointed by the ARTC decision to favour the Toowoomba route" but remained "pragmatic" about the Cunningham Rail Link.

"With the Northern Rivers and north coast region of NSW growing so rapidly, improved accessiibiltiy to that area is important to our own growth," he said.

"High quality access would further cement our position as a freight hub for southern Queensland."

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