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. The project aims 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 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 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 below image illustrates the key features of the project.
There are significant benefits to increasing the mode-share of freight moved by rail, 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 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).
The Botany Rail Duplication 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.
Botany Rail Duplication is a key initiative that supports the following key 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
In 2018, we lodged a State Significant Infrastructure (SSI) 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 – DPIE) for the Botany Rail Duplication. In late 2018, we received the Secretary’s Environmental Assessment Requirements. Since then, we have been following the NSW Government planning approval process, illustrated below.
NSW SSI planning approval process
The Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) was placed on public exhibition by DPIE between 17 October and 13 November 2019. The EIS incorporated community and stakeholder feedback, captured throughout early engagement in June 2019, and a range of technical environmental studies. While the formal public exhibition of the EIS has closed, the documents can still be viewed on the DPIE Major Projects website.
A total of 32 submissions were received during the EIS exhibition period of the project – 13 public submissions, 9 from organisations, and 10 from public authorities. A Submissions Report that addresses the issues raised, was submitted to DPIE in March 2020. This report, and all submissions received, is available to view on the DPIE Major Projects website.
On 12 August 2020, the NSW Government announced SSI approval for the project to proceed, subject to conditions of approval. The below graphic illustrates the project timeline, noting the timeframes are indicative and subject to change.
Since receiving SEARs in 2018, we have been:
- Completing specialist studies focused on areas such as noise and vibration, traffic and transport, heritage, etc.
- Engaging with local residents, community members and stakeholders, hosting project information sessions, door knocking, and pop-up information sessions in the local community to better understand local needs and concerns.
- Carry out a series of investigations on site to inform the project design, including geotechnical surveys, utility identification surveys and land surveys.
- Meeting with industry and potential tenderers through a Market Sounding briefing, Expression of Interest, to design and construct the project. Three construction contractors have been shortlisted to bid for the Botany Rail Duplication including CPB Contractors, Laing O’Rourke and John Holland, following an Expression of Interest evaluation in late 2019.
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We encourage you to get involved in the planning process and invite you to contact us for more information and to provide feedback at any time. Our project team can be reached via:
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 longer we will contact you to provide an update.
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.
For further information about this project contact:
P: 1300 550 402
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