FEDERAL BUDGET: $1b for rail projects

Rudd Government will invest $1b in rail to upgrade network and boost the mode's competitiveness

Budget delivers $1bn to boost rail’s competitiveness

May 12, 2010

The Rudd Government will invest a further $1 billion in the government-owned Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC) to upgrade more of its 10,000 kilometre network, last night’s Federal Budget revealed.

Transport and Infrastructure Minister Anthony Albanese says the $1 billion commitment in seven projects will modernise the interstate rail freight network and expand Australia’s economic capacity.

The projects are spread across four states and are expected to create more than 1,500 jobs, mostly in regional Australia.

"From the outset the Government’s focus has been on restoring the competitiveness and reliability of the interstate network, with our investment building 235 kilometres of new track and upgrading a further 3,771 kilometres of existing track," Albanese says.

The line between Maitland and the Queensland border will be straightened at 58 locations to reduce transit times along the eastern seaboard by almost one hour. The $170 million project will take about 14 months to complete.

Three double-track passing loops will be built near the NSW towns of Goulburn, Moss Vale and Glenlee, providing trains with more overtaking opportunities and fewer delays. The $24 million project will take about 20 months to complete.

Lines between Whyalla and Broken Hill and between Parkes and Broken Hill in NSW and South Australia will be upgraded to accommodate heaver trains. The investment will cost $312 million and take just over two years to complete.

Wooden sleepers will be replaced with concrete sleepers on the line between Parkes and Broken Hill in NSW in a move the Government hopes will reduce transit times and the need for temporary speed restrictions during summer.

Albanese says the $253 million project will take just over a year to complete.

Heavier trains will also be able to use the Albury to Melbourne line in Geelong next year after the route is re-railed to increase its capacity.

Money will also be spent on four new passing loops between Gheringhap and Maroona in Victoria to reduce train delays and improve overtaking opportunities. The project is expected to be completed mid next year.

Another two passing loops will be built on the Koolyanobbing and Kalgoorlie line in Western Australia, alongside a re-railing project.
The $95 million investment will be completed within a year.

Concrete sleepers and metal rails will be sourced from factories in Whyalla, Grafton, Geelong, Mittagong and Wagga Wagga.

The Budget also allocates$70.7 million to complete a planning study on the Moorebank Intermodal Terminal Project in Sydney’s south-west.

However, redevelopment is not expected to start until 2013 and will be subject to final approval.

The work will be a joint effort between the Department of Finance and Deregulation, the Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Local Government and the site’s current owner, the Department of Defence.

Once operational, the Government says the new facility will create hundreds of jobs across western Sydney and transform the movement of freight into and out of Port Botany as well as through the Sydney basin.

"This will also be a major victory for the Sydney’s motorists and residents, taking over one million trucks a year off the M5," Albanese says.

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