Construction work on the 36 kilometre Southern Sydney Freight Line will recommence almost immediately and the first section of track, between Leightonfield and Sefton, is now scheduled to be laid between March and July next year, the Chief Executive of Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC), David Marchant, said today.
With work underway, ARTC will complete construction of six Easy Access lifts at stations along the route as well as relocating utility services within the rail corridor.
Mr Marchant said ARTC had used the temporary suspension of construction to prepare the rail corridor for a more speedy and efficient delivery of this important piece of rail infrastructure.
The Southern Sydney Freight Line (SSFL), which will run between Macarthur and Sefton, will improve the efficiency of rail freight services on the major rail corridor linking Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane and improve Sydney commuter train services by it operating as an independent freight line.
“Making rail freight services more efficient and attractive to major freight operators by removing the current peak hour curfew and increasing freight trains between Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane has positive outcomes for the economy, the environment and road safety.
“Each freight train means 100 less trucks on our interstate routes and rail services consume far less fossil, non-renewable energy than road transport,” Mr Marchant said.
Mr Marchant said works at stations along the SSFL route, including installing six access lifts, would be completed between February and October 2011 while the track was being laid between Leightonfield and Sefton.
“The Leightonfield-Sefton section of the SSFL is expected to be finished by mid 2011 and ARTC expects to construct the rest of the line between Macarthur and Leightonfield in two stages.
“ARTC will also relocate services along the corridor as well as working with RailCorp on relocating some signal services.
“By staging the constructing and working in close cooperation with RailCorp on signal work and moving services such as high voltage power lines, we will have a clean and clear construction site that means we can minimise any impacts on passenger services.
“As well, by moving ahead on the works around the stations and work that’s been underway along roads near the rail line, we can improve local traffic flows.
“People who live along the line, especially where we’ve been working on roads and bridges, have been extremely cooperative and although there’s been some the majority have understood that, in the long term, there are positive benefits for the community, the State and the nation,” Mr Marchant said, adding: “For that, we are grateful.”