The New South Wales Government has announced a major reconstruction of the Riverina rail, which will be delivered through a series of projects totalling over $70 million in funding.
The first step of the Fixing Country Rail program is already complete, after 174km of rail was replaced between Junee and Griffith.
A further $11.7 million project will soon get underway near Coolamon to further reduce rail bottlenecks on the line.
New South Wales Minister for Regional Transport and Roads, Sam Farraway, said the rail revival will provide a major economic boost to the state.
“Fixing Country Rail is a $400 million program unlocking the economic potential of regional New South Wales,” Mr Farraway said.
“Our regional freight task in New South Wales is expected to increase by 17 per cent to 311 million tonnes by 2036, which is why improving our supply chain network, whether it be rail or roads, is so important.
“The Junee to Griffith upgrade allows heavier freight trains to use the track, and adds capacity for those trains to travel at higher speeds, making journeys more efficient for freight trains transporting goods and produce from farms in the Riverina across the state, Australia and overseas.”
The project to extend the Coolamon Siding will help alleviate bottlenecks and congestion on the single line track between Junee and Griffith, where currently there are limited opportunities for freight trains to load and unload off the main line.
“It will allow access for modern freight trains up to 1500m long to exit the main line, letting passenger and other freight services pass while the train is loading or unloading,” Mr Farraway said.
“The Riverina is the largest agricultural producer in regional New South Wales, and this rail upgrade will increase bulk grain loading capability for freight trains.”
Member for Cootamundra, Steph Cooke, said the Coolamon project will support around 30 jobs during construction.
“The Riverina Murray region makes the largest regional contribution to agricultural production in New South Wales, accounting for almost 13 per cent of produce across the state,” Ms Cooke said.
“That is why our government has invested wisely to ensure our region’s biggest economic driver can become even more efficient, serving farming communities well into the future.”
Early work is due to start in September 2022 and the project is expected to be completed in 2023.