AusRAIL, Market Sectors

ARA calls for more road and rail cooperation

<p>The Australasian Railway Association (ARA) called for more integration with road and rail linkages in the wake of the F3 freeway chaos that plagued Sydney this week.</p> <p>ARA chief executive Brian Nye said this morning (Friday, February 1) he did not want to get into an argument with road transport groups but instead wanted government and both industries to work together.</p> <p>&#8220Better rail linkages, better road linkages, more integration is better for everyone,&#8221 Mr Nye said.</p> <p>&#8220It’s better for the trucking companies because it takes some stress off of them.&#8221</p> <p>Increased petrol prices and the skills shortage meant transport in the future would have to utilise more of its assets and become more flexible, Mr Nye said.</p> <p>&#8220Right now, rail freight only accounts for less than 10% (of total freight),&#8221 Mr Nye said.</p> <p>&#8220We have to optimise the transport network.&#8221</p> <p>Mr Nye said while Federal Government had already invested $2.5bn in rail infrastructure in the last budget, the ARA was looking forward to the $1.5 bn more promised by prime minister Kevin Rudd during the election.</p> <p>&#8220When one train can take 150 trucks off the road you have to seriously think about it,&#8221 Mr Nye said.</p> <p>Mr Nye’s comments were sparked after two separate truck accidents caused considerable delay on the north bound F3 freeway in Sydney this week.</p> <p>New South Wales motoring group NRMA called for the Roads and Traffic Authority of NSW to restrict truck access. </p> <p>This forced a response from the Australian Trucking Association (ATA) defending the right of trucks to use the F3 freeway.</p> <p>ATA NSW manager Ms Jill Lewis insisted trucks were the most efficient and convenient form of transport.</p> <p>Ms Lewis said that while integration was important, trucks would always be a necessity for some types of freight.</p> <p>But with greater investment in rail, Mr Nye said transit times between Sydney and Brisbane would be cut to 15 hours by the end of the year, dramatically closing the gap between truck and train.</p> <br />