More funding to begin freight rail works in Tamworth

The NSW government will inject $28 million to reopen a non-operational railway line, providing a rail connection to an intermodal terminal outside Tamworth.

The funding covers five kilometres of track on the West Tamworth to Barraba line, as well as new level crossings to allow freight access to the Tamworth Intermodal Freight Rail Terminal.

Rehabilitating the line will allow goods from Tamworth to be transported by rail to Port Botany for export, said NSW Deputy Premier John Barilaro.

“This significant investment is key to the development of the new intermodal rail hub that will better connect Northern NSW’s producers and businesses to the world,” he said.

“When complete, a functioning intermodal rail hub and freight terminal in Tamworth will create a direct rail route to vessels docked at Port Botany, saving businesses significant freight costs.”

Australasian Railway Association (ARA) CEO Caroline Wilkie welcomed the announcement.

“This is an important step towards delivering a facility that will get more freight on rail and better connect NSW producers with their suppliers.”

Regional freight is expected to increase by 28 per cent from 2016 to 2036. Minister for Regional Transport and Roads Paul Toole said facilities such as the one in Tamworth will enable that freight to move more efficiently.

“Inland intermodals are an integral part of moving freight throughout NSW by providing a delivery point load breakdown services and an interface for road to rail integration,” he said.

The $28 million in funding will allow major works to progress along the line, after an initial $7.5 million committed in 2017 enabled early works to begin in May 2020.

Operations are expected to begin in 2021.

The work will include five level crossings as well as the interface between the West Tamworth to Barraba line and the Werris Creek to Armidale line.

Nearby road works are also underway, funded by the local, state, and federal governments.



Work begins on Tamworth Intermodal Rail Line

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.”