Rail deal to trigger massive NSW spending

<p>After boosting rail’s performance and market share on the east-west corridor, the Australian Rail Track Corporation is looking to mirroring this success on the north-south east coast rail corridor.</p> <p>The ARTC managing director David Marchant said this after the Australian and New South Wales governments signed an agreement today (Friday, June 4) &#8211 as predicted in Wednesday’s Lloyd’s List DCN newswire &#8211 that will give the corporation a 60-year lease over the over the interstate and Hunter Valley rail lines in New South Wales.</p> <p>The ARTC now has responsibility for overseeing an initial five-year $1.3bn investment program to upgrade these lines, which will improve capacity and times on the Melbourne-Sydney-Brisbane axis.</p> <p>The move should also result in significant separation between freight and commuter rail services in the Sydney area</p> <p>The agreement provides for $872m of ARTC, Federal and NSW State funding that will be boosted by a further $450m grant for upgrading works on the Sydney-Brisbane rail corridor that was provided to ARTC in the May Budget.</p> <p>In Sydney, a new single 24-km, non-electrified freight track will run along the western side of the existing commuter and main lines to Melbourne, then over a 1.8 km viaduct to Chullora. </p> <p>The line will give direct access from Port Botany to the three existing or planned intermodal sites in Macarthur.</p> <p>This will overcome the delays that have occurred to port and north-south freight because commuter trains have priority on the tracks.</p> <p>However, green groups are already claiming communities along the route of the new railway have not been consulted. </p> <p>They also claim that the routing to Chullora is a cover for re-activating the Enfield intermodal terminal project, which was mothballed.</p> <p>NSW transport minister Michael Costa said the agreement made sense by giving the Commonwealth primary responsibility for the interstate rail system.</p> <p>"We can attract more freight off country and regional roads if we develop a competitive national framework," he said.</p> <br />