top of page

Heavy Rail (CAMCOS)
Now renamed to "Sunshine Coast Direct Line"

A rail line connection between the Sunshine Coast and Brisbane has been discussed for almost 20 years but has never come to fruition.  Named CAMCOS (Caboolture to Maroochydore Corridor Study) it was envisaged the project would be a heavy rail line from Brisbane, branching east at Beerwah and taking passengers directly to Caloundra and  on to Maroodydore.   Acording to the Beattie Government in 2007, CAMCOS was supposed to be delivered to Caloundra by 2015 and Maroochydore by 2020. 

 

Once delivered it was envisaged CAMCOS would provide access and connectivity between the hinterland and coastal communities as well as Brisbane, and to the broader SEQ rail network, with opportunities for new stations, park ‘n’ rides and active transport facilities.  

The land for the corriodor was secured over a decade ago.

The Sunshine Coast Regional Council, as part of their mass transit options analysis identified the CAMCOS corridor as an important project but chose to prioritize a mass transit system (preference Light Rail) along the coastal corriodor as the 1st priority for delivery.

SCRC Master Transport Plan
CAMCOS = Red line    Mass Transit - Blue Line

Source SCRC Options Analysis Report Oct 2021

Master transport plan.jpg

Sunshine Coast Direct Line
Current Status

The Department of Transport and Main Roads (DTMR) is responsible for delivering CAMCOS.  In late 2021 DTMR announced they were revisting CAMCOS because of the 2032 olympics and population growth.  They undertook a $14 million business case for this project and renamed it "the Direct Sunshine Coast Rail Line. "

The business case for the project was completed in December 2023.  It undertook detailed engineering work for the complete 37.8km of track and estimated the total cost at $12billion.  

Funding of $5.5billion dollars has now been committed by the State and Federal Govenments to build stage 1 from Beewah to Caloundra. 

 

On February 25th 2024, the Queensland Government announced the heavy rail project  from Beerwah to Maroochydore would be built in stages, but only if funding from the Federal Government was obtained.  Stage 1 of the project (Beerwah to Caloundra) was estimatd to cost $5.5 to $7 billion).  The Queensland Government committed $2.75billion dollars for stage one which has now been matched by the Federal Govenment.

In March 2024 the State Government released a summary of the Business Case (Click here to read the full summary)

Heavy Rail Staging Map. 

Stage 1 Green

Stage 2 Orange

Stage 3 Blue

MTAG Supports Sunshine Coast Direct Line but is disappointed it will now be delivered in stages with no timing estimate for the remaining 2 stages.

Sunshine Coast Direct Line Latest Details​​

Source: ABC News 13 May 2024

"In short: A Brisbane to Sunshine Coast rail line will soon begin early works to be built ahead of the 2032 Brisbane Games, after new Federal funding announced.

What's next: Construction on this first stage to Caloundra is set to begin in 2026, with further rail connections to follow after the Olympics.

A critical rail link between Brisbane and the beaches to its north is now locked in with a total of $5.5 billion secured from the state and federal governments.  The Direct Sunshine Coast Rail Line will be 19 kilometres long from Beerwah to Caloundra in its first stage.

But long-term planning remains for the line to travel north along the coastline and then into the central business hub of Maroochydore.

Federal Infrastructure Minister Catherine King has announced the Commonwealth will bring its contribution to $2.75 billion and match the funding promised by Queensland premier Steven Miles in late February.

The project has been on the books since the late 1990s.(Supplied: Queensland Government)

"We're investing [an additional] $1.15 billion making sure the Sunshine Coast has the infrastructure it needs to connect it to opportunities in a faster, more reliable way," Ms King said.

"Once complete, the Direct Sunshine Coast Rail Line will save commuters up to 45 minutes, with journeys from the new Sunshine Coast stations to Roma Street station taking around 45 minutes less than driving in peak hour."

The rail line will have stations linking into suburbs of Caloundra West, where 50,000 people are expected to live by 2050. Premier Steven Miles said the rail may also lead to more houses being built in an area notorious for its shortages.

"The heavy rail connection will also allow us to unlock tens of thousands of additional homes," Mr Miles said.

"Homes that can allow us to relieve the pressure on supply, which we know is driving up prices," he said.

Mr Miles has previously said the Beerwah and Caloundra line could be ready for the 2032 Brisbane Olympics and Paralympics, but only with support from the Commonwealth.

The new line will link Brisbane visitors and tourists to the Sunshine Coast's renowned beaches.

The plan has been on the books since the late 1990s but never funded for construction.

In early 2022, the Morrison government vowed to pay $1.6 billion to develop the rail line to Maroochydore, to be matched by the state, but its budget never passed parliament due to the coming election.

While the funding was maintained by the incoming Labor government, a business case into the project found the amount was too little to fund the whole project.

The state government estimates the first stage to Caloundra will likely cost between $5 billion and $7 billion.  The first stage to Caloundra is estimated to cost between $5 billion and $7 billion.

Ms King and Mr Miles said the decision to build the line in stages, and not all at once, was under advice from the project's business case.

"The business case said that if you tried to build it all the way to Maroochydore, all at once, you would have no trains operating for at least 10 years," Mr Miles said.

"What we have here is a fully funded, well planned project that we can get underway on and start working on."

Why Heavy Rail is better than Light Rail for the Region

Research conducted by MTAG over the past 2 years shows the Community prefers a Heavy Rail solution to a Light Rail solution because:

  • Light Rail will not alleviate traffic congestion on the Bruce Highway, Heavy Rail will.

  • Light Rail will not benefit the whole of the Sunshine Coast Region, Heavy Rail will.

  • The Sunshine Coast does not have the population to justify a $2+ billion-dollar investment in Light Rail that only goes for 13km.

  • Southeast Queensland does have the population to justify investment in Heavy Rail.

  • Light Rail does not enable people wanting to visit the Sunshine Coast during the 2032 Olympics to get to the region, Heavy Rail does.

  • Light Rail requires major densification resulting in high rise development along the coastal corridor to justify its existence, Heavy Rail does not.

  • Light Rail threatens to make the Sunshine Coast another Gold Coast, Heavy Rail does not.

Heavy rail staging map.png

Heavy Rail Images

bottom of page