Progress made on Northern Sydney Freight Corridor
The first major milestone in the Federal Government’s $1.1bn Northern Sydney Freight Corridor program has been reached.
Infrastructure and transport minister Anthony Albanese said construction of the new passing loop at Hexham.is one of four separate but complimentary projects being undertaken as part of the government’s Northern Sydney Freight Corridor (NFSC) program.
Albanese said the new 1500 metre passing loop, which was completed on time and within budget, remedies the lack of space previously available for holding freight trains on Sydney’s outskirts so that they can be better coordinated with CityRail passenger services.
The NSFC program is being jointly funded by the Federal ($840m) and NSW ($214m) governments and is designed to improve the capacity and reliability for freight trains on the Main North Line between North Strathfield and Broadmeadow, Newcastle.
Other current major challenges for rail services between Sydney and Newcastle include a shortage of holding loops (overtaking lanes), several steep inclines, and junctions causing delays at critical locations.
The program will tackle these challenges by improving freight train access through northern Sydney; relieving serious bottlenecks; creating a more efficient freight rail network; and improving the frequency and reducing crowding on passenger services on the Main North Line.
The NSFC program’s Stage One includes three other projects in addition to the new Hexham passing loop: construction of a rail underpass at North Strathfield, the laying of a third track between Epping and Thornleigh, and the installation of new passing loops near Gosford. Transport for NSW is responsible for the delivery of these projects.
Albanese said once the NFSC program is fully completed, the planned improvements will increase the corridor’s capacity by 50% from 29 to 44 freight trains a day, take 200,000 trucks a year off Sydney’s roads, cut annual carbon emissions by more than 100,000 tonnes, and reduce diesel use by some 40 million litres per annum.
“Importantly, this project is part of a much broader federal investment in the city’s rail infrastructure, which also includes an upgrade of the Port Botany link, construction of a dedicate freight line from Macarthur to Chullora and a new intermodal facility at Moorebank,” he said.
“These projects will help make Sydney work better. They will also improve the reliability and transit times across the entire interstate rail network, which is vital if we are to get more freight off our roads and onto the back of trains.”
30th-31st November 2012 | Hilton on the Park, Melbourne
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