Botany Rail Duplication Project

Project Overview

In May 2018 the Australian Government announced a funding commitment to duplicate the remaining section of single line freight track between Mascot and Botany, known as the Botany Rail Duplication Project. The project will aim to:

  • Alleviate constraints and increase the capacity of Sydney’s freight rail network to meet existing and future demands
  • Provide increase operational efficiency, flexibility and reliability for freight customers support current NSW government targets to increase the rail mode share
  • Support connection to, and operation of, intermodal terminals to meet their targeted freight capacity.

Together, with the Cabramatta Loop Project, Botany Rail Duplication aims to provide the capacity to meet predicted growth in the containerised freight task and support rail services between Port Botany and metropolitan freight intermodal terminals.

The Botany Rail Duplication Project will complement future upgrades taking place in and around the airport and port precinct which aim to improve traffic flow and help reduce congestion on nearby roads. As such, ARTC is working closely with Transport for NSW in developing the design and planning for the Sydney Gateway Project.

About the Project

The Botany Rail Duplication Project includes the following key features:

  • Track duplication – constructing a new track predominantly within the rail corridor for a distance of about three kilometres
  • Track realignment and upgrading – moving some sections of track sideways (slewing) and upgrading some sections of track to improve the alignment of both tracks and minimise impacts to adjoining land uses
  • New crossovers – constructing new rail crossovers to maintain and improve access at two locations (totalling four new crossovers)
  • Bridge works – constructing new bridge structures at Mill Stream, Southern Cross Drive, O’Riordan Street and Robey Street (adjacent to the existing bridges), and re-constructing the existing bridge structures at Robey Street and O’Riordan Street
  • Embankment/retaining structures – construction of a new embankment and retaining structures adjacent to Qantas Drive between Robey and O’Riordan streets and a new embankment between the Mill Stream and Botany Road bridges.

Ancillary work would include bi-directional signalling upgrades, drainage work and protecting/relocating utilities.

The project is subject to State planning approval. The project is considered a State significant infrastructure project, and is subject to State planning approval. An Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) has been developed, and the NSW Department of Planning, Industry and Environment has placed the EIS on public exhibition until 13 November 2019. The Department has a key role in assessing a project and recommending approval to the Minister for Planning.

The below image illustrates the key features of the project.

Project need

The NSW freight and ports network is fundamental to the State’s future $1.3 trillion economy. In 2016 over 480 million tonnes of freight needed to be moved in NSW. This is forecast to increase by 28 per cent to 618 million tonnes by 2036 (NSW Freight and Ports Plan 2018-2023). There is significant benefits to increasing the use of rail freight in Greater Sydney, particularly in the face of growing road congestion. One freight train is equivalent to around 54 trucks. Transporting more freight to and from Port Botany by rail will place additional demands on the existing Botany Line, particularly the single line section of track, which is already an existing constraint to this section of the wider freight network.

The Botany Rail Duplication Project aims to improve rail capacity, flexibility and reliability for freight customers who use the existing Botany Line and to meet the anticipated future increase in freight train movements. The Botany Duplication Project is expected to allow for increased freight movement on the Botany Line from the current average of about 20 trains per day (per direction) up to around 45 trains per day (per direction) by 2030, based on current and predicted operational requirements identified by ARTC.

Planning for the future

Over the last twenty years, Australia’s need for a more strategic approach to managing and investing in land freight networks has become apparent. The project is influenced by industry strategic planning and policies to provide the infrastructure necessary to service demand for freight accessing Port Botany, intermodal terminals and key supply chains in a reliable, safe and efficient manner. If infrastructure cannot service future demands, planning and policies for freight related activities by the NSW government and private industry cannot be met.

Botany Rail Duplication Project is a key initiative that supports the following key Government strategies:

  • NSW Freight and Ports Plan 2018-2023 – The amount of container freight handled by Port Botany is predicted to significantly increase – from 14.4 million tonnes in 2016 to 25.5 million tonnes in 2036, representing an increase of 77 per cent. The strategy includes an aim to increase the share of freight moved by rail – from 17.5 per cent in 2016 to 28 per cent by 2021.
  • Navigating the Future, NSW Ports’ 30 year Master Plan – Over 80 per cent of containers moving through Port Botany are delivered to locations within a 40 kilometre radius of the port. The strategy set a target of 40 per cent of total freight volumes to be transported to/from the port by rail over the next 30 years. This represents a substantial increase compared with the current 14 per cent share of freight moved by rail. NSW Ports recognises that maximising the capacity of Port Botany requires a combined investment in, and optimisation of, both road and rail networks, and that investment in just one mode will not suffice
    The below image illustrates the project benefits in line with the above strategic context.

The below image illustrates the project benefits in line with the above strategic context.

Project progress

In 2018, we lodged a State significant infrastructure application which was accompanied by a Preliminary Environmental Assessment to the former NSW Department of Planning and Environment (now the NSW Department of Planning, Industry and Environment) for the Botany Rail Duplication Project. In late 2018, we received the Secretary’s Environmental Assessment Requirements.

Since commencing the project, we have been:

  • Completing specialist studies focused on areas such as noise and vibration, traffic and transport, heritage, etc.
  • Hosting a project information session, door knocking, pop-up information sessions in the local community.
  • Engaging with local government and other stakeholders to better understand local needs and concerns
  • Meeting and working with landowners and stakeholders along the alignment including businesses, utility providers, potential suppliers and industry.

The project is progressing through the following, as shown in the planning process image below:

While the formal period for EIS submissions has now closed you may still view the EIS online (external link).

The below image shows where we are in the planning process.

Next steps

A total of 32 submissions were received during the EIS exhibition period of the project: 13 from public, 9 organisations, and 10 from public authorities. All submissions received are available to view on the Department of Planning, Industry and Environment webpage. The Submissions Report that addresses the issues raised, is available to view on the Major Projects webpage.

Over the next few months, we will be continuing to carry out a series of investigations on site to inform the project design. Some of these include:

  • Geotechnical surveys – to understand physical ground conditions.
  • Utility identification surveys – to identify infrastructure assets.
  • Land surveys – to identify property boundaries and any easements.

Some investigations will be carried out around the roads, with traffic and pedestrian management in place to warn motorists and people in the area.


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Contact us


Phone: 1300 550 402


Mail: Locked Bag 14, Sydney NSW 2001

Our aim is to respond to all queries within 2 working days if your query takes no longer we will contact you to discuss an indicative response timeframe.

Interpretation service

If you need an interpreter, please call TIS National on 131 450 and ask them to call ARTC on 1300 550 402. Our business hours are 0900 – 1700.

Useful links

View the EIS 
Community update (October 2019) 
View Guide to the EIS document (October 2019)
Community update (May 2019) 
Public engagement strategy 
Media release (January 2020)
Investigation work notification

Project contact

For further information about this project contact:

P: 1300 550 402

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