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$17m investment on larger tunnels to boost agricultural industry

$17m investment on larger tunnels to boost agricultural industry

Train tunnels around the Toowoomba Range and Lockyer Valley are set to get bigger, providing a boost to the agricultural industry.

Larger hi cube containers will be able to be transported from the Darling Downs to the Port of Brisbane, with the Queensland government investing $17 million to create larger tunnels through the Toowoomba Range and Lockyer Valley.

Minister for Transport and Main Roads Scott Emerson said this would be a boost to the agricultural industry, with the lowering of 11 tunnel floors to help improve the capacity of the train network.

“This will be a challenging engineering task because the tunnels along the western and south western rail corridors must retain their historic qualities,” Mr Emerson said.

“We’ve already taken steps to build two additional passing loops on the range to allow more services for cotton and grain and this will now allow even more freight capacity.”

The project may also create opportunities for apprenticeships in Queensland, with work expected to start in early 2014.

Mr Emerson commented that the amount of cotton and grain sent through the Port of Brisbane increased by 50 per cent last year.

“By addressing the height constraints for agricultural freight we will be able to provide capacity improvements needed for future growth.

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