VTA 2015: ARTC renews Inland Rail push


Rail infrastructure operator builds on call for further government action

VTA 2015: ARTC renews Inland Rail push
The ARTC wants construction of the Inland Rail project to begin soon

 

The Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC) is stepping up its campaign to fast-track building of the Inland Rail project between Melbourne and Brisbane.

Marketing manager John McNamara says the upgraded corridor will provide a "game-changer" for freight on the east coast.

"Inland rail will allow for shorter journeys, and faster journeys," he told the Victorian Transport Association (VTA) conference yesterday. 

The planned track is 220 km shorter than the best available road route between Melbourne and Brisbane, and McNamara says once fully upgraded, the journey could be completed in under 24 hours.

While the federal government has allocated $300 million to pre-construction work on the Inland Rail project over the next three years, the ARTC is keen to see the job started, and finished, much sooner.

It has written an open letter to Prime Minister Tony Abbott, bringing in rail operators Asciano, Aurizon, SCT, and Genesee & Wyoming, road operators Linfox and Toll, and port operator Qube as co-signatories.

"Dear Prime Minister – now is the time to invest in Inland Rail," the letter opens.

"The road transport sector is essential for this country, and will remain so, but rail has a much greater contribution to make in society as a whole."

McNamara says Linfox and Toll are both keen to see rail take more of the east coast freight task.  Currently, only 30 per cent of land-based freight between Victoria and Queensland uses rail, compared to 80 per cent of land-based freight on east-west routes.

More freight on rail will mean a smaller environmental impact, and reduced transit times and transport costs, that will ultimately improve the affordability of everyday household items, he says.

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