AusRAIL, Market Sectors

Coal industry asked to consider route for new rail link

<p>The development of a new Liverpool Range rail link is firmly on the planning agenda, with the Australian Rail Track Corporation seeking coal and rail industry input on the choice of route.</p> <p>Its <em>Liverpool Range Study</em> identifies six options.</p> <p>ARTC chief executive David Marchant said increasing coal volumes from the Gunnedah Basin, New South Wales, were a catalyst for the rail route.</p> <p>&#8220The purpose of the study was to provide the coal and rail industry with options and an information base to assess whether a new alignment should be proceeded with,&#8221 Mr Marchant said.</p> <p>The options comprise two surface alignments that would continue to use the existing tunnel at Ardglen and four options that involve a new, longer tunnel through the Liverpool Range.</p> <p>Each of the new alignments would allow the elimination of the use of &#8220bank engines&#8221 now required to assist heavy coal and grain trains up the steep ascent to Ardglen. </p> <p>&#8220The different alignments have different operational and cost implications. The study outcomes provide the necessary information for the industry to make informed decisions that will affect their transport costs well into the future,&#8221 Mr Marchant said.</p> <p>The options range in capital cost from $167m to $465m and from an operational savings for coal trains from $0.37 cents per tonne to $1.18 per tonne.</p> <p>While the study identified a number of specific route options, a final alignment would be subject to extensive review and consultation during an environmental assessment process.</p> <p>&#8220The route options provide an understanding of construction costs and operational outcomes at a level appropriate for this stage of the process,&#8221 Mr Marchant said. </p> <p>&#8220In the event that a decision is taken to proceed, there will need to be considerable further development and review to finalise an alignment.&#8221</p> <p>The ARTC is looking for feedback to its reports. Specifically, ARTC is seeking the coal industry response and commitment to an option. </p> <br />