Mayor Jack Dempsey says freight yards should be relocated from the Bundaberg Railway Station as part of a proposed upgrade.
The State Budget included a million dollars for a feasibility study to upgrade the station while retaining its heritage charm.
“The Bundaberg Railway Station is an under-utilised asset which should be improved for the community’s benefit,” Mayor Dempsey said.
“The government should also ensure we have a fast, regular and reliable train service. It’s essential for people who can’t fly or drive and many use it for medical visits to Brisbane because our current hospital is inadequate.
“Regarding the railway precinct, I think the government should move the freight yards closer to our industrial area to reduce heavy vehicle movements in the CBD and improve transport logistics.
“The freight yards could be repurposed, preferably with green space, to beautify the area.
“I look forward to the Government consulting with Council and the community on these important matters.”
Assistant Minister Bruce Saunders said the feasibility study would include community consultation so locals could have their say about what facilities they’d like at the station.
“Bundaberg is one of the busiest railway stations in regional Queensland. There’s a lot of traffic here so we’ve got to make it comfortable for them,” he said.
“Things from modern lounges to being able to charge their phones, that’s part of this feasibility study, how we can improve the station but keep the heritage.”
Member for Bundaberg, Tom Smith, said the station was the first port of call for many visitors and an upgrade would create jobs for locals.
“We want to make sure it’s an experience for them,” he said.
“We want them to get off the train and know that they’re seeing all of the best parts of Bundaberg, whether it’s the turtles (or the) the agritourism space; we want to show that off as soon as they get off the train.”
Mayor Dempsey said he welcomed the commitment to consultation and he also believed that tourism should be a key focus of the upgrade.
A timeline for completing the study has not been announced, but Mr Saunders said the government wanted it done as soon as possible.
Writing on Bundaberg Now Facebook, commenters had several suggestions including Ken Wilson: “Old rail carriages could be used for tourist accomodation for them to live in while touring Queensland. Carriages could be parked at station sidings for a day or two and cars included on other wagons. Alternatively used for mobile backpacker accommodation to transport them to jobs while providing stable accommodation on the way.”
Bruce Hennessy wrote: “Why not build a cafe type area like the one that used to be at the airport?”
- Other news: Heritage railway bridge restoration on track