Anderson puts $3bn inland rail option under microscope

<p>The Department of Transport and Regional Services (DoTaRS) is to begin in July the rail study that will determine the feasibility of a proposed $3bn inland route between Melbourne and Brisbane.</p> <p>The North-South Rail Corridor Study will look at the existing rail corridors as well as the much publicised inland option. </p> <p>It aims to cover expected rail freight demand on the Melbourne-Sydney-Brisbane corridor deficiencies in the existing corridors viable solutions for the deficiencies the likely costs and commercial viability and estimates of economic, regional and environmental costs and benefits of rail options.</p> <p>The Federal Government says this study will exceed the work already done on the inland rail option, with detailed coverage on a range of issues.</p> <p>These include connections to ports, intermodal terminals, regional hubs and feeder lines.</p> <p>Federal transport minister John Anderson said the study would be completed by June 2006.</p> <p>It is expected that freight and logistics industry members and local and state governments will contribute to the study. </p> <p>Rail operator Pacific National has welcomed the study as an opportunity to work with the Federal Government on coping with freight growth between the east Coast cities.</p> <p>The company’s chief executive, Stephen O’Donnell, said that with work under way to improve rail existing coastal route, the next step was to provide major new capacity from Melbourne to Brisbane.</p> <p>"Ultimately I see 2-km double-stacked trains travelling between Melbourne and Brisbane at 110 km&#47h," Mr O’Donnell said.</p> <p>"With enough market share, you could run trains every six hours.</p> <p>"It would totally change the way rail is seen by customers."</p> <br />