Construction giant Leighton subsidiary Thiess Group is set to build the Moreton Bay Rail Link after entering into a $650 million agreement with the federal government, state government and Moreton Bay Regional Council last week.

Key features of the project, which will connect the greater Brisbane rail network currently ending at Petrie to the rapidly growing Moreton Bay region, include 12 kilometres of new track as well as new stations at Kallangur, Murrumba Downs, Mango Hill, Mango Hill East (previously called Kinsellas Road Station), Rothwell and Kippa-Ring.

First proposed in the 1800s, when a local alderman suggested a new line be built to the peninsula at an estimated cost of 200,000 pounds, serious efforts regarding the project did not commence until 1978/79, when the Metropolitan Transport Authority conducted a series of planning studies.

Despite having a population of more than 375,000 people – a number set to expand to 500,000 by 2031 – limited transport options mean more than eight in 10 residents in the Moreton Bay area commute to work via private vehicles.

It is expected the link will provide greater options for public transport and thus ease congestion on roads, provide faster and more reliable commuting to Brisbane, improve access to employment centres, attract local investment and act as a catalyst for growth along the alignment as stations become hubs around which new development is concentrated.

In addition, with every full train on the new line effectively eliminating the need for 600 motor vehicle journeys, the development is also expected to reduce carbon emissions.

Kippa Ring railway line map

Kippa Ring Railway Line Map

Leighton Holdings chief executive Hamish Tyrwhitt says the company has scooped up $5.5 billion worth of new projects in the past six weeks alone and is well-positioned to deliver a project of significant value to the country.

“For the nation, the Moreton Bay Rail Link demonstrates a growing recognition of the need to fill our infrastructure deficit in order to remain globally competitive,” he says.

Major work is expected to begin early next year and the project will require a peak construction workforce of 1,000.

The new line is expected to be operational by June 2016.

Along with Thiess, those responsible for the work include Aurecon, AECOM, HASSELL and geotechnical subcontractor Golder Associates.

All up, including road works already commenced, the cost of the link is expected to amount to $1.147 billion, funding of which is being jointly provided by the Federal Government ($742 million) the Queensland Government ($300 million plus land) and Moreton Bay Regional Council ($105 million).