Applications open for $150 million Fixing Country Rail

Deputy Premier John Barilaro, Minister for Roads, Maritime and Freight Melinda Pavey and Member for Barwon Kevin Humphries

have today announced $150 million for Round One of Fixing Country Rail.

On the back of the completion of the $40 million Narrabri to Walgett Line upgrade, Mrs Pavey said funding for rail infrastructure is essential to the prosperity of Regional NSW.

“The North West relies heavily on an efficient freight transport network and we’re already seeing a boost in the North West’s economy,” She said.

“This upgrade transformed 186 kilometres of track, which was initially built in 1908, into a modern freight line that significantly increases efficiency by enabling larger freight loads to be moved to port faster.

“Because of these upgrades, sixty per cent of the trains operating on the line are now using heavier locomotives, while most of the trains are running at the higher allowable speeds.”

Deputy Premier John Barilaro said the $150 million Fixing Country Rail Round One is part of the $400 million NSW Restart commitment to deliver a highly functional transport network across the state for moving freight in and out of regional areas.

“Improving rail takes pressure off local roads, helps improve road safety and efficiencies in freight,” he said.

“We want to enhance local communities, which is why we are focussing our efforts in improving networks in rail, roads and freight.

“We’re already seeing the benefits in region from this program. The recently completed $1.1 million upgrade of the Burren Junction site, one of the pilot programs funded last year, is already delivering benefits.

“For every additional train leaving Burren Junction 70 trucks are being removed from the roads network and producers are saving up to $9 a tonne, while the extended siding has meant big savings in wagon loading times. We want to continue seeing these kinds of results. ”

Mr Humphries encourages everyone across the regional freight industry to nominate Fixing Country Rail projects – including producers, councils, transporters, intermodal terminal operators and infrastructure managers.

“While Fixing Country Rail funding will only be allocated to rail asset owners and managers, input from the people who produce and move freight will be critical for ensuring we get the best ‘bang for buck’ with any upgrades,” he said.

Mr Humphries said the program complements the highly successful Fixing Country Roads, which is all about improving freight movements between farms, key freight hubs like grain silos, saleyards, rail heads, supermarket distribution centres and depots.