The Australian Government funded $41 million Southern Highlands Overtaking Opportunities project is set to proceed following the Australian Rail Track Corporation’s (ARTC) release of the Response to Submissions Report (REF).

The project will deliver overtaking opportunities for trains at Werai in the Southern Highlands, and Joppa Junction near Goulburn, allowing for more efficient movement of freight and passenger rail services. This will increase flexibility and reduce delays and congestion on the ARTC network, particularly for freight and passenger services on the crucial Sydney to Melbourne rail line.

ARTC Group Executive Major Construction Projects, Mike Zambelli, said, “The two locations will each provide two ‘double crossovers’ approximately 2km apart, to allow trains of up to 1800m in length to be overtaken by faster services”.

ARTC received five submissions on the project and has responded to community feedback with the Response to Submissions Report (REF), now available to view online here

The REF reports identify and assess the environmental impacts of the project at the Werai and the Joppa Junction sites respectively, and recommend mitigation measures to manage impacts.

Following a review of the REF and consideration of the submissions received from the community and stakeholders, ARTC has determined that the project can proceed, subject to the recommended mitigation measures.

“ARTC thanks the community for coming forward to have their say on this project. We have reviewed all feedback and invite the community to view the Response to Submissions Report, which considers and responds to comments,” Mr Zambelli said.

Project construction is expected to start in early 2023 and be completed by late 2024.

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