Feds fork out to revive Tasmanian rail


Rudd Government to bankroll rail infrastructure upgrades in Tasmania to revive the network in the wake of Asciano's departure

The Rudd Government will bankroll key rail infrastructure upgrades in Tasmania as part of a plan to revive the transport mode in the wake of Asciano’s departure.

Following Asciano’s decision to leave Tasmania by November 30 this year, the Federal Government has finalised the details of its $195 million capital works investment.

Minister for Infrastructure and Transport Anthony Albanese says he has reached a deal with his Tasmanian counterpart Graeme Sturges.

"Following representations from the Tasmanian Government we have taken a number of tough decisions, including reprioritising spending within our Nation Building Program in order to keep the core of the network operational," said Mr Albanese.

"The purpose of our unprecedented investment is simple: to put the State’s rail network back on a secure footing for the long term. This investment will support jobs today while building the rail infrastructure Tasmania needs for tomorrow," Albanese says.

As part of the funding package, $31.6 million will be spent on capacity improvements along the North-South line, with another $24 million to be spent on improvements at Rhyndaston.

Both projects will begin this financial year, alongside a $61.13 million maintenance upgrade.

Other projects such as an upgrade to the Burnie to Melba Flats line and the Hobart to Western Junction line will be deferred until the existing network is strengthened.

The package will also fund upgrades of the Fingal and Boyer lines, as well as an expansion of the Bell Bay intermodal terminal.

Sturges says the network is in desperate need of funding, using Albanese’s announcement to accuse Asciano of neglecting the rail network.

"In order to run operations effectively we need to undertake additional works to strengthen the existing core network before starting work on secondary rail spurs," he says.

Sturges says the Government has reached an agreement with a private operator to transition operations from Asciano-owned Pacific National to the Government by the end of November.

"This will ensure minimal disruption to services and ensure certainty for companies relying on freight rail to move goods across the state."

You can also follow our updates by joining our LinkedIn group or liking us on Facebook