Wednesday 17th Oct, 2018

Study to investigate rail link between Canberra and the Port of Eden

Photo: Creative Commons / Matilda

The NSW government will investigate a potential freight and passenger rail line connecting Canberra and the Port of Eden, announcing $1 million in funding for a feasibility study into the project.

The study will investigate a potential re-opening the Canberra to Bombala line, which has been closed south of Cooma since 1986, and an extension of the line to Canberra Airport and the Port of Eden, which is currently undergoing a major redevelopment.

“This rail line could potentially provide a new link from Canberra, as a global gateway for passengers and trade, to the Port of Eden, an emerging cruise destination and home to one of the largest fishing fleets in NSW,” the premier said.

“As a government, we have worked hard to put ourselves in the financial position where we can invest heavily in major infrastructure projects that transform the way we live and get around, and I want to ensure that investment extends right to the borders of NSW, not just the borders of metropolitan Sydney.”

The 304-kilometre Bombala line commences from the ARTC and Country Regional Network boundary at Joppa Junction near Goulburn, and is operational at 20.25 tonne axle load to Queanbeyan and on to Canberra.

While the line has been closed to passenger and freight between Cooma and Bombala, sections have briefly re-opened for heritage and tourist operations. However, the line is currently in un-trafficable condition, its age and disuse having led to rail breakage, sleeper degradation and timber bridge deterioration.

As no rail line has ever existed from Bombala to the Port of Eden, the feasibility study will identify potential corridor extensions.

“By linking the line to the Port of Eden, the project has the potential to connect Queanbeyan and Canberra to the coast, at a location that experts say rivals Sydney Harbour for depth and access,” Constance said.

“The vision for the South East and Tablelands is one of a borderless region, in Australia’s most geographically diverse natural environment, with the nation’s capital at its heart, and a thriving cruise ship terminal on the coast, so opening up a rail corridor has the potential to link all of that together.”

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