In 2002, ARTC developed a detailed infrastructure investment program for the NSW network in the context of the lease proposal to NSW. This investment program was worth $872 million, including complementary investment on the Melbourne – Albury corridor.
Subsequently, the Australian Government made available $450 million to ARTC to invest in the network. The Australian Government has made a further $550 million available for rail freight projects through AusLink, of which $110 million is available for works to improve freight access through northern Sydney and $40 million for Tottenham – Dynon works.
It is 3 years since ARTC’s NSW investment program was developed and it needed to be reviewed and revised in light of subsequent developments. Similarly, while an indicative scope of works was developed for the $450 million Australian Government grant, there was also a need to subject it to rigorous analysis, to optimise the scope of works in the context of the available funding and an improved understanding of business needs.
The objectives of the review were consistent with the original objectives of the NSW Lease Business Case being to:
- Improve transit time
- Improve reliability
- Improve capacity
- Improve above and below rail yield.
Considerable internal and external consultation has been undertaken, supported by extensive analysis of project options, and packages of options, to identify the scope of work best able to achieve the objectives. The development of the preferred scope has been an iterative process with a number of potential solutions considered by ARTC in arriving at the final strategy plan.