Work has begun on the Tamworth Intermodal Rail Line, with the first sod turned on May 5.
The work involves rehabilitating the West Tamworth to Barraba Rail Line, which will allow for the construction of an intermodal terminal on the edge of Tamworth that is connected to the main North-South rail line running from Tamworth to Armidale and south to Sydney and Port Botany.
According to Member for Tamworth Kevin Anderson, the construction work includes rebuilding six kilometres of track, a level crossing, bridge and signalling work, service relocations, and drainage improvements.
“The work will be completed on behalf of Transport for NSW by John Holland Rail, and includes early procurement of rail and sleepers, installing fencing at selected locations along the rail corridor and removing redundant infrastructure such as existing rail and sleepers,” he said.
The announcement that work has begun follows years of waiting for those in the New England region, since $7.4 million in funding from the NSW was confirmed in November 2017. The hope is that by re-opening the rail line, producers in the region will have freight rail access to Port Botany, said Minister for Regional Transport and Roads Paul Toole.
“Reactivation of the non-operational rail line between West Tamworth and Westdale will facilitate freight train services to the Tamworth Regional Freight Terminal, opening the gateway with direct rail access to vessels at Port Botany.”
Once complete, the rail line and intermodal terminal will form part of a logistics hub next to the Tamworth regional airport, which is tipped to be an airfreight hub for agricultural produce.
“The NSW Government is committed to moving more freight via rail and is investing in the rail freight network to increase capacity and meet future demand,” said Toole.
“The train line is expected to start operating next year which will also help to support ongoing employment in the region.”
Investigation work was completed last year, and work will maximise the use of rail infrastructure already present, said Anderson.
“The plan to deliver the Tamworth Intermodal Rail Line involves making the most of the existing infrastructure, which will provide a significant cost saving, and minimise the frequency of trains crossing Denison Street, reducing the impact on local traffic.”