Federal Govt launches Melb-Syd inland rail study

By: Jason Whittaker


The Federal Government has commissioned a study into the viability of an inland railway project between Melbourne and Brisbane to

The Federal Government has commissioned a study into the viability of an inland railway project between Melbourne and Brisbane to look at ways of boosting rail freight productivity.

Minister for Transpot Anthony Albanese announced the Government has tasked the Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC) to conduct the study, which is due to be completed by August 2009.

The study will examine the benefits of an inland route through central-west of New South Wales. Under its terms of reference, the ARTC will look at the economic, engineering, planning and environmental constraints of an inland railway.

It will also examine the operating and maintenance costs an inland system will have on below rail operators as well as the benefits to above rail entities.

In developing the route alignment, ARTC will follow the far western sub-corridor.

Albanese sees the construction of an inland railway as a way of boosting freight movement between states.
"An inland route through the central-west of NSW has the potential to slash the time it takes to move freight from Melbourne to Brisbane by rail from 36 hours to just 21 hours," he says.

The study is to be carried out in three stages, with the Government to review each stage upon completion. ARTC will first determine the preferred route, followed by an analysis into the engineering, environmental and land baseline and then the development of the preferred alignment.

ARTC will also be consulting the industry to gauge the level of market take up of the alignment as well as private sector support for the project.
"Given the interest in the study, I have asked the ARTC to undertake thorough consultations with all stakeholders, including state governments, industry, local government and major rail customers," Albanese says.

The study is expected to cost $15 million and forms part of the Rudd Government’s $1 billion investment in rail and inter-modal projects.

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