AusRAIL, Market Sectors

Transport industry relieved at historic rail track deal

<p>The federal and New South Wales governments have finally reached an historic agreement on the future of the state’s interstate and Hunter Valley rail freight corridors.</p> <p>The Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC) will sign for a 60-year lease of the tracks, including dedicated metropolitan freight lines to Sydney Ports terminals and a licence to allow ARTC to construct the Southern Sydney Freight Line within the rail corridor.</p> <p>The agreement has been applauded across the transport industry, which has been fretting for more than a year over stalled infrastructure investment and uncertainty over the future of rail in NSW. </p> <p>Federal transport minister John Anderson and NSW transport services minister Michael Costa made the joint announcement that the lease will be signed early next year and take effect from April 2004.</p> <p>The Federal Government’s promised $870m as part of the deal will be invested in track infrastructure to achieve a doubling of rail freight by 2020 &#8211 from 375bn tonne&#47km to 648bn tonne&#47km.</p> <p>ARTC will spend $145m of the promised funds upgrading freight rail lines around Newcastle and the Hunter Valley in works that the NSW Government hopes will lead to a 20% reduction in the cost of transporting coal to the port of Newcastle.</p> <p>The NSW Government will remain the track owner and NSW’s independent transport safety and reliability regulator is to set safety standards.</p> <p>Mr Anderson said the agreement ends "150 years of fragmentation and myopia" in the management of Australia’s railways.</p> <p>"For the first time, one organisation will be able to sell track access to train operators over the full length of the interstate mainline from Perth to the Queensland border," he said.</p> <p>Pacific National has welcomed the deal and will now invest $50m of its own money to upgrade infrastructure along on the north-south corridor between Melbourne and Brisbane.</p> <p>Australasian Railway Association CEO Bryan Nye said the agreement is a significant step for the industry that will position rail as the preferred means of freight transport.</p> <p>The ARA said it wants an early start to infrastructure upgrades and is looking forward to the next major national land transport announcement &#8211 the AusLink white paper and a national land transport plan. </p> <br />

3 Comments

  1. Although this site is Australian based, it features stories from all over the world. And I think what it’s trying to show is that some leaders do care about public transport. But on the other hand they need to put their money where their mouth is and fund it, not just take selfies at stops and stations

  2. Hi Steven,

    As Bill mentioned, even though we focus primarily on Australian rail news, we also try to present the occasional international view that our readers might find interesting — especially on topics that may resonate with Australian issues (investment in infrastructure, HSR, public transport policy, etc.)

    Rail Express