Agribusiness GrainCorp has welcomed the NSW Government’s decision to upgrade rail sidings in Barellan, Burren Junction and Hillston.
GrainCorp general manager for storage and logistics Neil Johns said the government’s investment would unlock an additional $10.8 million investment from GrainCorp to deliver significant increases to rail loading speeds at the sites.
“The Baird Government’s investment in grain rail sidings will deliver significant benefitrs to grain growers in these regions,” Johns said on August 8.
“More efficient loading of trains will result in a reduction of rail costs of at least $5 a tonne.
“There are also benefits for the surrounding communities – the investment means a significant reduction in heavy vehicle movements, improving safety and reducing road wear and tear.”
The sidings upgrades are among ten pilot projects announced this week by NSW freight minister Duncan Gay, to kick-start the state’s $400 million Fixing Country Rail program.
Gay committed a total of $15 million to fund the pilot projects, which make up the first round of the program, being delivered by Gay’s ministry over the next few years.
$14 million of the money will go towards the following six projects (GrainCorp-referenced projects in bold):
- $5 million towards the reinstatement of the Maimuru to Demondrille railway line
- $3 million for rail siding extension at Hillston to help service a major grain receival site
- $2 million for the reinstatement of a 2.8 kilometre section of the Moree to Inverell railway line at Moree
- $1.5 million for rail siding extension at Barellan to help service a major grain receival site
- $1.5 million for rail siding extension at Burren Junction to help service a major grain receival site
- $1 million for upgrading rail siding at the Canberra Railway Freight Terminal (Fyshwick)
The remaining $1 million will be spent on detailed planning and design work for the remaining four projects:
- A new turnout (allows trains to turn off the main track onto a siding) at the centre of Dunmore Loop at Shellharbour
- A new turnout at Unanderra
- A new crossing loop near Tarago
- The reinstatement of the non-operational line from West Tamworth to Westdale
Gay says the spending is part of the government’s plan to get more freight on rail.
“The NSW Government is determined to shift more bulk freight on to railway lines to ensure we get produce from paddocks to ports as quickly and efficiently as possible,” the minister said.
“The freight transport network is the backbone of country NSW and we need to improve its efficiency to take more freight off our local and regional roads – a massive win for regional communities, economies and the state’s producers.”
Johns thanked Gay for highlighting the benefits of investing in regional rail infrastructure.
“This is a very positive start for the Fixing Country Rail initiative and we are hopeful that funding will be available in future rounds for rail sidings in other communities, where the existing infrastructure is limiting rail efficiency,” Johns said.
Funding for the ten pilot projects will be allocated to Transport for NSW as the network owner for the Country Regional Network and Metropolitan Rail Network.