The heads of Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC) and Transport for New South Wales today announced the signing of an historic agreement that transfers management and operation of Sydney’s Metropolitan Freight Network (MFN) to ARTC until 2064.
The agreement, which is effective from midnight on 5 August will bring the remaining 19 kilometre section of the Sydney Metropolitan Freight Network between Enfield West and Port Botany under ARTC management.
CEO of ARTC, John Fullerton said the agreement was good news for rail users.
“As signalling separation works are completed along the MFN, train control and maintenance will be progressively transferred to ARTC from RailCorp.
“With the Sydney Metropolitan Freight Network under ARTC management, our customers are one step closer to a truly one stop shop when it comes to access into the Sydney freight network.”
Mr Fullerton said the transfer of the MFN was an important milestone in ARTC’s plans to provide its customers with a more reliable freight transit through the Sydney area.
“As part of our commitment to the Network, we have completed the first stage of a $172million upgrade of the Port Botany rail line as part of the Federal Government’s Nation Building Program.
“The rail yard at Port Botany has been fully modernised and resignalled to handle increasing volumes of container traffic to and from the Port.
“Additional tracks are now under construction at Enfield and signalling works along the MFN will commence in the coming months – supporting a 30 per cent increase in rail freight capacity to and from the Port.
“Our take up of the MFN, the related Port Botany rail line investment as well as the completion of the Southern Sydney Freight Line are set to make transit through the Sydney metropolitan rail network much more reliable.
“The $1 billion Southern Sydney Freight line is a dedicated freight only, curfew free line between Sefton and Macarthur that will unlock further capacity when it opens to traffic next year.
“The current restrictions on rail freight traffic mean that freight trains are generally not allowed to enter the RailCorp network during the morning and afternoon commuter peaks.
“The SSFL will eliminate that eight hour restriction and provide us with the capacity for more reliable freight by rail as well as providing a direct connection to the freight network from intermodal terminals located between Glenfield and Leightonfield.
“These projects deliver the transit reliability and enhance capacity we need to get trucks off the roads and onto rail,” Mr Fullerton said.
ARTC’s takeup of the MFN was a part of the 2004 NSW Lease agreement between the ARTC and the NSW State Government.
“This is an important step towards our goal of providing improved outcomes for freight operators and balancing the needs of passenger and freight rail services across NSW,” Director General of Transport for NSW Les Wielinga said.
“Transport for NSW is committed to increasing the number of containers moving by rail through Port Botany and we support ARTC’s work to expand the Port Botany rail line and make improvements to the Sydney Metropolitan Freight Line.”