Round one of the Fixing Country Rail program is now open with $150 million on offer rail projects throughout the state.
Deputy Premier John Barilaro, Minister for Roads, Maritime and Freight Melinda Pavey and Member for Barwon Kevin Humphries were in Narrabri on Friday (May 12) to announce the funding, which comes off the back of the completion of the $40 million Narrabri to Walgett line upgrade.
Mrs Pavey said funding for rail infrastructure is essential to the prosperity of regional NSW.
“The North West relies heavily on an efficient freight transport network and we’re already seeing a boost in the North West’s economy,” she said.
“This upgrade transformed 186km of track, which was initially built in 1907, into a modern freight line that significantly increases efficiency by enabling larger freight loads to be moved to port faster.
“Because of these upgradews, 60 per cent of the trains operating on the line are now using heavier locomotives, while most of the trains are running at the higher allowable speeds.”
Mr Barilaro said the $150 million Fixing Country Rail round one is part of the $400 million NSW Restart commitment to deliver a highly functional transport network across the state for moving freight in and out of regional areas.
“Improving rail takes pressure off local roads, helps improve road safety and efficiencies in freight,” he said.
“We want to enhance local communities which is why we are focussing our efforts in improving networks in rail, roads and freight.
“We’re already seeing the benefits in the region from this program. The recently-completed $1.1 million upgrade of the Burren Junction site, one of the pilot programs funded last year, is already delivering benefits.
“For every additional train leaving Burren Junction, 70 trucks are being removed from the roads network and producers are saving up to $9 a tonne, while the extended siding has meant big savings in wagon loading times. We want to continue seeing these kinds of results.”
Mr Humphries encourages everyone across the regional freight industry to nominate Fixing Country Rail projects, including producers, councils, transporters, intermodal terminal operators and infrastructure managers.
“While Fixing Country Rail funding will only be allocated to rail asset owners and managers, input from the people who produce and move freight will be critical for ensuring we get the best ‘bang for buck’ with any upgrades,” he said.
Mr Humphries said the program complements the highly successful Fixing Country Roads, which is all about improving freight movements between farms, key freight hubs like grain silos, saleyards, rail heads, supermarket distribution centres and depots.
For more information on Transport for NSW freight projects, visit freight.transport.nsw.gov.au.