South Australian based Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC) has posted record highs for monthly traffic volumes carried over the interstate rail network.
During July 2004, a record total of 2.943 billion gross tonne kilometres (GTK) was moved by train operators over the ARTC network, a phenomenal increase of 15.05% on the July 2003 figure.
The strong growth has continued into August with 2.920 billion gross tonne kilometres being moved, an increase of 12.3% over August 2003.
ARTC Managing Director David Marchant said, “These results graphically highlight the recognition by freight forwarders of the strong benefits of moving freight by rail.”
“Rail’s share of the land transport market on the national East-West corridor (East Coast to West Coast) is over 81%,” he said.
David Marchant continued, “ARTC has now taken up the operations of the New South Wales interstate and Hunter Valley rail networks as part of a 60 year lease of the NSW network.”
“For the first time train operators will be provided with a seamless service across most state boundaries. In the past, the fragmented control of the interstate network has greatly hindered rail growth. With better network integration, ARTC will be able to build on the current record highs on the East-West corridor and see similar gains on the North-South national rail corridor,” he said.
The commencement of the NSW lease will be accompanied by an infrastructure investment programme of $870m to improve the capacity and reliability of the North-South rail corridor.
David Marchant concluded, “ARTC’s corporate headquarters will remain in Adelaide and we are employing an additional 50 staff in South Australia to accommodate the increased workload resulting from the take up of the NSW interstate and Hunter Valley networks. We anticipate that revenues generated by the combined business will be in excess of $300 million per year.”