By SHANNON SAGAIDAK
COMMUTERS have given the new Springfield rail line the thumbs up, with hundreds crowding to be among the first to catch a train on Monday.
More than 740 passengers boarded the morning peak hour train services from Springfield, with a Queensland Rail spokesperson saying trains have run smoothly since the first service on day one.
“We have received positive comments from passengers who have caught the train from Springfield. The response from the Springfield community has been very enthusiastic,” the spokesperson said.
Springfield Lakes resident Lina Subritzky said it should ease congestion on Centenary Highway and said: “There is a great need in the area for this, it’s awesome.”
Darra’s Rose Peasey said the rail connection was a vital improvement for the area and she would use the train to get to the shops.
The $475 million train line, officially opened on Sunday, is the most significant infrastructure project in the region since the Centenary Highway extension and the Ipswich Motorway upgrade.
Springfield Land Corporation Chairman Maha Sinnathamby said he was proud of the milestone and described it as a “personal victory and a victory for the community of Springfield”.
“Twenty-one years ago I bought 2860ha of bushland with a dream of creating a beautiful community,” Mr Sinnathamby said.
“When I told them I wanted a train line to Greater Springfield, they said: ‘mate, you won’t get one here for 50 years, there is no need for it, stop living in the clouds’.
“Not only do we now have one train station, but two train stations. I’m so proud for all involved.”
Ipswich Mayor Paul Pisasale said the project would cater for population growth while easing traffic congestion.
“The opening of the Springfield rail line will go down in history as a major milestone, not only in the development of Springfield, but in the history of Ipswich as the birthplace of Queensland Rail.
“Ultimately we want to see the line extend to Redbank Plains, through to Ripley Valley, Yamanto and Ipswich Central.”
The Richlands to Springfield transport corridor project also includes a dual carriageway upgrade of the Centenary Motorway to Springfield Parkway.
As a passenger on the first train, Ipswich City Division 1 councillor David Morrison (Division 1) said the buzz in the air was unmistakable.
“This is a marvellous piece of infrastructure,” he said.
“It is fitting it was delivered in Springfield’s 21st year as a sign of Greater Springfield coming of age.”
To cater for this week’s influx of rail passengers, Ipswich City Council has rushed through an application to create a 300-space temporary carpark in vacant land next to Orion Shopping Centre.
The makeshift carpark, which can be accessed from North Star Crossing off Southern Cross Circuit, will complement the station’s permanent 100-space carpark.
A permanent carpark with 400 spaces is expected to be built early next year on land provided by Ipswich City Council to the east of the station and next to Springfield Greenbank Arterial.