New grain siding complete in Coonamble South

A new rail siding in Coonamble South has been installed, ready for the 2020/21 grain season.

The siding, located in the Central West of NSW, would improve grain movements from the interior of the state, said Minister for Regional Roads and Transport Paul Toole.

“Previously the positioning of the old mainline grain loading point at Coonamble caused delays for trains for up to eight hours, creating congestion and holding up the movement of grain to port,” Toole said.

“The new rail siding will create an extra 450 hours each year where trains can pass through this section of track without being held up.

The new location will also help shift further freight onto rail.

“It will also see the three grain loading points in Coonamble better utilised and potentially encourage the transporting of grain off roads and onto rail, reducing the impacts of heavy vehicles on the road network,” said Toole.

The siding was built with a $2.5 million investment as part of the NSW government’s Fixing Country Rail program, which is funding $400m worth of upgrades to support, reinvigorate, and upgrade regional freight infrastructure.

Member of the NSW upper house Sam Farraway said the upgrades will boost productivity and confidence in rail.

“These upgrades have multiple flow-on effects, including more time to access the wider network and port, alleviating the pressure to find space on the rail network to meet shipping schedules,” he said.

The siding was announced as receiving funding in February 2019.

Maryvale

Maryvale rail siding upgrade keeping freight on rail

The Victorian government is investing $3.5 million in upgrade works to the Maryvale rail siding in Gippsland.

The siding is primarily used by freight trains hauling paper from Australian Paper’s Maryvale mill to Melbourne.

Minister for Ports and Freight Melissa Horne said the upgrade would ensure paper products continued to be transported via rail.

“This important upgrade will ensure Victoria’s busiest regional rail freight train continues to run and will support the jobs of 900 Gippsland workers,” she said.

“We’re keeping rail freight cost-effective and helping businesses like Australian Paper access key domestic and overseas markets.”

The upgrade will involve the replacement of sleepers and ballast, with ground resurfacing works also taking place. Ultimately, the works will increase the efficiency of the rail infrastructure by reducing maintenance expenditure, ensuring that rail remains competitive for Australian Paper.

Procurement will begin in early 2021 and construction should begin soon after that.

The funding for the project is part of the Victorian government’s COVID-19 response. In May, the government earmarked up to $90m for regional rail infrastructure upgrades.

“This work comes adds to the significant improvements to the signalling system in Morwell, which have already been completed – making it easier than ever to move freight through Gippsland,” said Member for Eastern Victoria Harriet Shing.

To connect freight trains to the main Gippsland line, an automated signalling system in Morwell has been installed, replacing manual processes and improving integration across the network.