Spending agreed on Northern Sydney Freight Corridor


Federal Transport Minister Anthony Albanese and NSW Premier Barry O’Farrell have repeated the pledge that “200,000 trucks a year” will leave the state’s roads by 2016, once the 160 km Northern Sydney Freight Corridor upgrade is complete. The statements came as the two men jointly announced the signing of an intergovernmental spending agreement worth nearly $1.1 billion that they expect to also improve the reliability of passenger trains through better coordination with freight trains. The Southern Sydney Freight Corridor upgrade, between Macarthur and Sefton, is due in 2013.

By Rob McKay | December 7, 2011

Federal Transport Minister Anthony Albanese and NSW Premier Barry O’Farrell have repeated the pledge that "200,000 trucks a year" will leave the state’s roads by 2016, once the 160 km Northern Sydney Freight Corridor upgrade is complete.

The statements came as the two men jointly announced the signing of an intergovernmental spending agreement worth nearly $1.1 billion that they expect to also improve the reliability of passenger trains through better coordination with freight trains.

The Southern Sydney Freight Corridor upgrade, between Macarthur and Sefton, is due in 2013.

The $840 million of Federal and $214 million of State spending will see built a rail underpass at North Strathfield, a third track between Epping and Pennant Hills, new passing loops near Gosford and a holding track at Hexham.

"Once completed in 2016, the new infrastructure will lift the corridor’s carrying capacity by 50 percent from 29 to 44 freight trains a day, helping to accommodate the threefold increase in interstate freight volumes that’s expected over coming years," Albanese says.

He notes that Sydney is the biggest bottleneck on the main line between Melbourne and Brisbane.

O’Farrell’s focus is on the commuter benefits.

"In addition to taking hundreds of thousands of trucks off Sydney’s roads and motorways, this major infrastructure project will improve the reliability of passenger services," he says.

"It will provide new passing loops and new track which will reduce the impact of freight trains on passenger services providing locations for passenger trains to overtake slower freight trains."

The 20-year Memorandum of Understanding also guarantees more freight trains better access to the corridor while continuing to prioritise the reliability of commuter services, the governments say.

According to the Australasia Railway Association (ARA), this spending is the first stage, with two further stages costing a $3.2 billion and $3.4 billion over 12 years needed before the northern upgrade is complete.

Of that, $4.4 billion is so far unfunded.

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