Pavey in rail freight infrastructure double


New South Wales spruiks $100 million spend on two lines

Pavey in rail freight infrastructure double
Melinda Pavey

 

Rail lobby Freight On Rail Group (FORG) has given a strong thumbs up to two rail infrastructure announcements in New South Wales.

State freight minister Melinda Pavey has highlighted spending of $40 million of Fixing Country Rail project cash on 13km of the South Coast rail line between Berry and Bomaderry.

"Increasing the weight limit to 25t will remove over 10,000 trucks from the road!" Pavey says on facebook.

"Heavier trains means your goods get to market cheeper [sic] and more efficiently!"

FORG welcomes the productivity gain this will represent.

"Australian businesses and exporters like Manildra Group operate in fiercely competitive global markets – our rail freight networks must be efficient so the price of our products and commodities appeal to buyers and consumers around the world," FORG chair Dean Dalla Valle says in the week in which he championed freight and rail at a CEDA event.

 "Running heavier freight trains delivers a productivity boost to the South Coast rail network; resulting in reduced transport costs and delays for farmers and exporters."

Earlier in the week, Pavey revealed $60 million in spending to increase axle loads on the Junee to Griffith rail line to increase speeds from 50km/h to 80km/h.

This means shifting more than 200,000 tonnes of freight onto the rail network, she notes.

 Dalla Valle says Riverina farmers and exporters can look forward to getting their commodities from ‘paddock to port’ quicker and cheaper.

"Australian farmers and exporters operate in fiercely competitive global markets – our rail freight networks must be efficient so the price of our products and commodities appeal to buyers and consumers around the world," he adds.

Moving produce by rail from towns like Junee, Griffith, Leeton and Narrandera should be efficient and cost-effective; "not an exercise in battling 20th century freight bottlenecks".

"Running freight trains at higher speeds and axle weights gives the Riverina rail network a boost in productivity; resulting in reduced costs and delays for farmers and exporters," Dalla Valle says.

He notes that regions such as North America and Western Europe have a long history of investing heavily in rail freight infrastructure to shift the haulage of bulk commodities from road to rail.

"Moving bulk freight by rail is safer, more efficient and cleaner than road – a typical freight train hauling containers takes up to 65 B-doubles off the road, while rail freight produces 16 times less carbon pollution per tonne kilometre than road," Dalla Valle says.

Dalla Valle believes programs such as the $400 million Fixing Country Rail initiative and the federal government’s Inland Rail project signal the start of a "rail renaissance" in Australia.

"I believe the many and varied benefits of rail have started to capture both the imagination and interest of our key decision-makers – long may it continue," Dalla Valle says.

He notes that Pavey’s announcement to also fund additional passing loops and sidings, upgrade level crossings and strengthen bridges would significantly improve both capacity and safety along the Junee-Griffith rail corridor.

 

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