Budget’s Investment in Rail to Drive Further Productivity

The Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC) has welcomed further investment by the Australian Government, outlined in yesterday’s Budget, to build on existing infrastructure and rail technology improvements that will continue to transform the movement of rail freight across the country, CEO John Fullerton said today.

As part of Nation Building 2 commitments, the Government has allocated a total $125 million in grant funding to the ARTC to support the roll-out of ‘next-generation’ train signalling technology, the Advanced Train Management System (ATMS); build upon improvements to the Port Botany rail precinct and undertake detailed planning around enhancements to the Southern Sydney Freight Line (SSFL) and Metropolitan Freight Network (MFN) which would support the Moorebank Intermodal Terminal.

This investment by the Federal Government will drive further productivity improvements to the national freight network particularly between our major capital cities, ports and distribution hubs, ARTC CEO John Fullerton said.

The funding for planning work around rail infrastructure to support the Moorebank Intermodal Terminal will include concept development, in-depth analysis and design of potential enhancements to the corresponding rail corridor.

“This preliminary planning will lay the foundation for works to increase the productivity of the terminal as well as options to encourage modal shift from road to rail for freight travelling between Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane and from Moorebank to Port Botany,” Mr Fullerton said.

ARTC has also received funding to embark on a third stage of improvements to the Port Botany Rail Line Upgrade program.

Port Botany Rail Line is a critical section in the national rail network that serves import and export traffic to and from Port Botany as well as many other export and domestic rail markets, including interstate intermodal, steel, export and domestic coal, grain and minerals, and building products.

The Stage 3 works will build on the rail network leased by ARTC and deliver infrastructure improvements that bring the line up to a high-quality standard so it is fit-for-purpose in carrying the heavy volumes of domestic, import and export rail traffic that use this corridor.

The Port Botany line supports the heaviest volumes on the ARTC network outside the Hunter Valley and this investment will support the $40 million the Australian Government has committed to the $80 million Port Botany Upgrade Program to be delivered by the NSW Government.

The third commitment of Nation Building 2 funding announced today supports the first stage implementation of ATMS, to be rolled out on the Interstate network between Port Augusta and Tarcoola in South Australia and prepare a section of track for ATMS between Tarcoola and West Kalgoorlie in Western Australia.

ATMS is a smart train management system that can locate and control trains on the network allowing them to travel at closer intervals safely and has collision avoidance systems on the trains to prevent accidents.

“This system is a first for Australia and it’s at the cutting edge of rail management systems anywhere in the world,” Mr Fullerton said.

“ATMS will not only vastly improve the safety of the network for train crew, track workers and passengers, but it will transform the rail industry in Australia by substantially increasing capacity and avoid the need to build additional tracks and sidings.

“Investing in transport infrastructure and increasing the rail network?s capacity to shift ever larger volumes of trade into and out of Australia?s major international gateway ports, intermodal terminals and between our major cities helps promote growth in the overall economy, which is good for the whole nation,” Mr Fullerton said.

“The investment creates jobs, reduces congestion and in encouraging modal shift from road to rail, it supports sustainability through a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions and impacts on urban living.”

Mr Fullerton said in addition to the three funding commitments on the ARTC network, the Company welcomed the Government’s $300 million commitment to pre-construction work for the Inland Railway which is a sensible step towards providing for Australia’s future freight requirements.

“The ARTC is determined to continue making rail even more competitive and restore it to its rightful place at the heart of this nation?s transport system – and the Australian Government is to be congratulated on its ongoing support and commitment to growing this mode of transport.”

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