The hope construction will start soon on an inland rail link between Melbourne and Brisbane hit fever pitch yesterday with reports $1bn has been earmarked for the venture in the Federal budget and the announcement of two bridge upgrades near Narromine.
The inland rail link – touted by politicians for decades- is seen as a freight boon for farmers with large savings on freight costs. But it seems ever so slowly the pieces for the rail link are falling into place.
The NSW Government confirmed it is in talks with the Federal Government over making the rail link a reality, but warned it did not want any negative impacts for NSW.
NSW Roads, Maritime and Freight Minister Melinda Pavey has had discussions with the federal government about how it can make inland rail a reality, a spokesperson said.
“The NSW Government is fully supportive of the proposal as long as there are no negative impacts for NSW and it supports economic growth,” the spokesperson said.
Parkes MP Mark Coultan announced yesterday the construction of two new rail bridges at Tomingley West and Narwonah.
The $1.3 million project will see two timber bridges replaced by reinforced concrete culvert structures designed and built to Inland Rail engineering specifications.
“As well as improving part of the existing rail line that connects the national interstate rail networks, these new bridges will be part of the Inland Rail route when it is constructed,” Mr Coulton said.
Federal Minister for Infrastructure and Transport Darren Chester said the upgrades were particularly significant as the new structures will meet the Inland Rail ‘standard’ – future proofed for longer, heavier and more efficient trains.
“The Inland Rail project, which will provide a rail freight connection between Melbourne and Brisbane, is connecting regional Australia with global markets. The region will play a major role in the delivery of Inland Rail, with the Central West region of New South Wales set to see $480 million in economic benefits from the nationally significant rail project,” he said.
“One Inland Rail train will support the movement of approximately 2,500 tonnes of freight in a single trip, equivalent to taking 110 B-double trucks off the roads.”
The Parkes to Narromine section of the Inland Rail project involves upgrading the existing 107 km of track. Overall, the Inland Rail project takes advantage of 1200km of existing rail corridor and will involve the construction of around 600km of new track.
The Australian Logistics Council welcomed the Federal Government’s announcement that two new railway bridges will be constructed in regional NSW, along the route of the Inland Rail project.
“This announcement is further evidence that we are making progress in the construction of Inland Rail,” said Michael Kilgariff, ALC Managing Director.
“Confirmation that two new bridges are to be constructed between Parkes and Narromine shows that the Federal Government is essentially future-proofing sections of existing rail track to accommodate the larger trains the Inland Rail line will facilitate.”