NSW freight rail services disrupted

Sustained bad weather has isolated Wollongong from the state’s freight network

NSW freight rail services disrupted
NSW's freight rail is disrupted by landfall and heavy rain

Landslides and flooding have severely disrupted rail services through eastern Australia, creating problems for both freight and passenger services.

Heavy rainfall across New South Wales in March and April is causing major landslides and floods that have impacted rail tracks across the state.

Wollongong, which is a major regional centre for NSW due to being 85 kilometres south of Sydney, is effectively isolated from the inter-state and suburban rail networks due to the weather.

Wollongong hosts both major port facilities and steelworks and has been cut off from NSW since April 7.

Problems first began at the start of March when heavy rainfall caused a major embankment on the Moss Vale – Undanderra line to fail, with the Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC) owned line blocked off.

This caused grain and interstate steel trains that access Wollongong’s Bluescope steelworks and Port Kembla port to be impacted, with services being routed through Sydney’s suburban network to travel through Waterfall and Wollongong.

But on April 7, further rainfall resulted in major landslides at several locations along the Sydney line, ruling out the Sydney diversion option and preventing freight from accessing Wollongong along rail lines.

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Repairs are expected to be completed by April 25 for freight services, while the ARTC has confirmed the Moss Vale line will remain closed for another six months due to the extensive nature of the works required.

During this, Sydney was isolated from the western and southern interstate main lines for a week in early March, with landslides and washaways on routes through the Blue Mountains and the Southern Highlands restricted services to Perth and Western Australia.

Sydney’s main line was repaired within a week while the Blue Mountains line remained closed for 18 days to freight services, as now NSW’s attention turns to reconnecting Wollongong to the state’s freight transport network.

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