Ministerial Press Release:
New Line to Reduce Congestion on Sydney Rail Network Opens

The new 36 kilometre Southern Sydney Freight Line has commenced operations, a $1 billion piece of infrastructure which will speed up the movement of trains through Sydney and improve the overall competitiveness and reliability of the nation’s Interstate Rail Freight Network.

Federal Infrastructure and Transport Minister Anthony Albanese today joined Australian Rail Track Corporation (ATRC) CEO John Fullerton onsite in the Sydney suburb of Birrong to celebrate the completion of this ambitious project, part of a much larger capital works program which will take up to a million trucks a year off the nation’s highways.

“For many years Sydney has been the single largest bottleneck on the Interstate Rail Network, with freight trains facing frustrating delays getting into and out of the City due to its limited track capacity and the priority given to passenger trains, particularly during peak periods,” said Mr Albanese.

“This new dedicated line between Macarthur and Chullora will go a long way to alleviating this handbrake on productivity.  It will allow passenger and freight services to operate separately from one another, thereby more than tripling the capacity of this important rail corridor.

“Importantly, this new line in Sydney’s south complements the work now underway upgrading the rail corridor through the City’s northern suburbs to Newcastle as well as the line to Port Botany.  It will also support the development of the new intermodal proposed to be built at Moorebank.

“Nationwide, this Federal Labor Government is rebuilding more than a third of the 10,000 kilometre Interstate Rail Freight Network, a multi-billion dollar capital works program which is lifting its efficiency, improving its reliability and reducing transit times.

“For example, average transit times between Brisbane and Melbourne are on track to be seven hours shorter than they were in 2005.”

Mr Fullerton said the South Sydney Freight Line will deliver significant benefits to the national and state economy by providing for a more efficient rail network and supporting the growing freight task between Brisbane and Melbourne.

“What’s more, around 500 jobs were directly created each year for the four and half years it took to complete this complex project,” said Mr Fullerton.

“The SSFL is the single biggest project ARTC has ever delivered and is part of our record $3 billion capital works program which is making the Melbourne to Brisbane freight route an even more attractive option for Australian businesses.

“ARTC is looking forward to delivering the benefits of this investment program to our customers later in the year, and providing a faster, more reliable transit between Melbourne and Brisbane.

“The Sydney rail network has always been a major bottleneck for freight.  That’s why the opening of the SSFL is such an important milestone for ARTC, our customers and the future of rail freight along Australia’s east seaboard.”

The SSFL project was funded by ARTC, with the final stage delivered in partnership with Leighton Contractors.

In partnership with RailCorp, the project also improved access to Leumeah, Minto, Cabramatta, Sefton, Warwick Farm and Casula train stations through the provision of lifts, pedestrian overbridges and wheelchair ramps.  They also received new or improved amenities such as car parks, bus shelters, lighting, awnings, ramps, footpaths and cycling paths.

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