Freight Rail, Safety, Standards & Regulation, Track & Civil Construction, Workforce

Full freight operations running on Main Western line

Freight operations have been restored to full capacity on New South Wales’ Main Western rail line thanks to fast-tracked repairs following a major landslip in the Blue Mountains.

The full opening comes a day ahead of schedule following the return of night-time freight operations, which resumed on Sunday. Since then, around 76 freight trains have transported essential supplies and raw materials over the mountains.

Regional Transport and Roads minister Sam Farraway said when extreme weather earlier this month caused a landslip between Blackheath and Mount Victoria, he made it a priority to get freight back running on the line as soon as possible.

“Thanks to the hard work of Sydney Trains, night-time freight operations were restored on the evening of July 24 and, since then, we have seen trains carrying coal, grain, bulk materials and general freight safely travelling the route,” he said.

“Once again, this vital rail line is connecting the Central West to our domestic and international markets.

“It is great news the Main Western line is back to 100 per cent freight capacity, including day-time operations from today, with passenger services scheduled to resume from tomorrow, Saturday 30 July.”

Paul Scurrah, chief executive of Pacific National, which runs more than 1800 freight services on the Main Western Line each year, welcomed the news.

“The Blue Mountains rail line is a vital link in the national supply chain connecting thousands of regional exporters and importers and primary producers to ports, processing plants, freight terminals and mills across the state,” he said.

“Each week, we haul more than 60,000 tonnes of goods and commodities on the Blue Mountains line, which is equivalent to taking about 1200 19-metre B-double trips off the state’s road network, notably the Great Western Highway, improving safety and reducing congestion and transport emissions.”

Sydney Trains crews, including workers from Greater Sydney, Wollongong and the Central Coast, worked day and night for nearly four weeks to safely restore the line.

Embankment repairs required around 40,000 tonnes of gabion rock, which was sourced from quarries including near Kiama on the South Coast and Marangaroo and Oberon in the Central West.