ARTC takes full control of MFN
Transport NSW hands over the remaining 19 kms of Sydney’s Metropolitan Freight Network to the Australian Rail Track Corporation
August 8, 2012
Transport NSW has handed over the
remaining 19 kilometers of Sydney’s Metropolitan Freight Network (MFN) to the Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC).
In an agreement signed last Sunday with the NSW State Government, ownership and operation of the MFN was transferred to ARTC until 2064.
Part of the 2004 NSW lease agreement between ARTC and the NSW State Government, the deal hands over the network previously managed by RailCorp between West Enfield and Port Botany.
Once signalling separation works have been completed, train control and maintenance will be progressively transferred to ARTC.
ARTC CEO John Fullerton says
control of the MFN is an important milestone in the
infrastructure owner’s plan to provide its customers with more reliable freight transit through the Sydney area.
"We have completed the first stage of a $172 million upgrade of the Port Botany rail line as part of the Federal Government's Nation Building Program," Fullerton says.
"The rail yard at Port Botany has been fully modernised and re-signalled to handle increasing volumes of container traffic to and from the Port."
Additional tracks are now under construction at Enfield and signalling works along the MFN will commence in the coming months to support a 30 percent increase in rail freight capacity to and from the port.
Fullerton says ARTC’s ownership of the MFN along with
its related Port Botany rail line investment and
the completion of the Southern Sydney Freight Line (SSFL) will make transit through the Sydney metropolitan rail network much more reliable.
"The $1 billion Southern Sydney Freight line is a dedicated freight only, curfew free line between Sefton and Macarthur that will unlock further capacity when it opens to traffic next year," he says.
"The current restrictions on rail freight traffic mean freight trains are generally not allowed to enter the RailCorp network during the morning and afternoon commuter peaks.
"The SSFL will eliminate that eight hour restriction and provide us with the capacity for more reliable freight by rail as well as providing a direct connection to the freight network from intermodal terminals located between Glenfield and Leightonfield."
NSW Director General of Transport Les Wielinga hails the agreement as an important step towards the goal of providing improved outcomes for freight operators and balancing the needs of passenger and freight rail services across NSW.
"Transport for NSW is committed to increasing the number of containers moving by rail through Port Botany and we support ARTC's work to expand the Port Botany rail line and make improvements to the Sydney Metropolitan Freight Line," Wielinga says.