Informa Australia is part of the Informa Connect Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them. Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 3099067.

Transport & Logistics

Inside Queensland Rail’s ten year infrastructure pipeline

24 May 2024, by Amy Sarcevic

Every week, more than 1000 people cross the border to begin a new life in Queensland, and soon – thanks to more than $20 billion in rail infrastructure – they will navigate the state’s growing urban centres with greater ease.

Among the projects being delivered is Cross River Rail, which will add a third sector to Brisbane’s rail network and bring the biggest change to its public transport system since the introduction of the Busway.

A second river rail crossing is also being developed at the core of south east Queensland’s network through the Cross River Rail tunnel; along with four new inner-city underground stations and eight station upgrades. This includes Albert Street – the first train station to be built in Brisbane’s CBD in more than 120 years.

To support projected growth, 65 new six-car passenger trains will also be delivered at a purpose-built manufacturing facility at Torbanlea, in Queensland’s Fraser Coast region.

Further afield, the Queensland Government is planning for a direct rail link to key population centres on the Sunshine Coast, with a new 37-kilometre passenger line proposed; and three new stations are under construction on the Gold Coast, as part of Cross River Rail.

New rail infrastructure to both coasts will provide Brisbane residents and visitors with easier access to the beach, supported by extensions to Gold Coast Light Rail, also known as G:link.

Improving quality of life

Queensland Rail CEO, Kat Stapleton, said the vision is to provide world-class rail services and improve quality of life for customers.

“We want to improve the experience for interurban and urban commuters and help them move across our region, accessing work, study, essential services, and leisure activities with ease,” she said ahead of the Urban Rail Conference.

“That means seamless connections between major centres, and with other transport connections, like buses and ferries. It’s not just about Queensland Rail, but rather how we fit into the broader transport ecosystem to support our customers.”

Ms Stapleton hopes expansion of the rail network will also be a catalyst for urban development, with heavy rail a well-known drawcard for city fringe and regional dwellers.

“Rail offers a fast, affordable and safe transport option and will help Queensland build outwards as it accommodates major population growth,” she said.

“We are especially excited about the proposed direct Sunshine Coast line. It’s really going to create opportunities for people who want to live by the beach and jump on a train for a rapid commute to Brisbane. Conversely, it will help city dwellers get faster access to the beach on their weekends.”

The upgraded rail network will also have safety at front of mind, through a new signalling system.

“We are installing the European Train Control System, which means safer operations and more capacity,” Ms Stapleton said. “It will help us to provide better journeys with more frequent and faster services.”

Focus on sustainability

Queensland Rail teams have recovered the network from damage caused by two major cyclones and flooding in recent months. Ms Stapleton says the work has been a catalyst for improving sustainable planning and design.

“These cyclones created a lot of damage for us in far north and north-west Queensland, in particular. Delivering daily train services under these conditions across our vast network, at the same time as preparing to operationalise and integrate all these new assets, has not been easy. But, it has been a constant reminder about the importance of sustainability and adapting to emerging challenges – and this is reflected in the work we are doing.”

Alongside adverse weather, Queensland Rail is preparing for an influx of new residents, through its ‘Ready for Growth’ program.

“Rail is superbly placed to accommodate population growth and we want to make sure we are well-placed to deliver seamlessly for our customers amid this expansion. That means ensuring customers understand how rail is a sustainable mode of transport and creating the right conditions to move freight onto rail.

“We also need to ensure our organisation and our people are prepared for how our network and business will evolve in the near future.”
Its future workforce is a key pillar of the program – and one Ms Stapleton is particularly passionate about.

“We have been around for almost 160 years, so we know a thing or two about rail. But shifts in technology are accelerating, and in rail we need to be ready for that. So that means building the digital skills of our people.”

To attract new talent and develop a more diverse workforce, Queensland Rail has expanded its apprenticeship and graduate program, with great success. “In the last intake, we had about 3000 applications for 100 positions and we’re absolutely delighted to see those new, keen faces joining Queensland Rail.”

The company is also focussed on diversity and inclusion – a move it deems necessary to build connected and engaged teams.

“Around 26 percent of our workforce are women, so there’s a lot more opportunity for having greater female representation in our workforce – not just in the traditional roles, but in frontline positions, in rail management, and on track. That’s a focus area for us because we know diverse teams will help us achieve this future we are all striving for.”

Further insight

Talking more about their projects and workplace initiatives, Kat Stapleton will present at the upcoming Urban Rail Conference – 18-19 June at the Sofitel Brisbane, which is co-located with Rail Signalling Workshop on the 17 June.

Register your tickets here.

About Kat Stapleton

Kat Stapleton was appointed to the role of Chief Executive Officer at Queensland Rail on 14 April 2022. Passionate about customer experience, Kat is recognised for driving strategic change through large scale transformation initiatives in highly complex and challenging environments across public and government organisations.

Prior to commencing at Queensland Rail in 2019 as the Chief Finance Officer, Kat held a number of executive roles with nbnCo and as CFO for Bahrain Telecommunications company.


Blog insights you may like

Get all the latest on Informa news and events

Informa Connect Australia is the nation's leading event organiser. Our events comprise of large scale exhibitions, industry conferences and highly specialised corporate training.

Find out more

Subscribe to Insights

Join Our Newsletter
Informa Insights

Stay up-to-date with all the latest
updates, upcoming events & more.