The Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC) has hosted a ribbon cutting ceremony to celebrate the completion of works to duplicate the Botany Rail line and develop a new Cabramatta Loop after 2.5 years of construction. 

The lines are now operational, marking significant milestones for the ARTC and its construction partners John Holland and Fulton Hogan.

Final works included installation of turnouts, signalling works, and testing and commissioning of new signalling infrastructure.

The combined projects are expected to significantly improve freight capacity and help reduce the number of trucks on local Sydney roads.

Each extra freight train travelling on the Port Botany Rail Line is expected to take up to 54 trucks off Sydney’s roads.

The Botany Rail Duplication project has duplicated the remaining 2.9km section of single line track between Mascot and Port Botany, including the construction of four new and replacement rail bridges.

The Cabramatta Loop Project has provided a 1.65km section of new track adjacent to the existing track, allowing freight trains travelling in opposite directions to pass each other, and the construction of new bridge structures and track realignment.

Through Federal Government funding of $442 million, these transformative rail projects are set to help meet future demand between Port Botany and metropolitan freight intermodal terminals.

The ARTC-hosted ribbon cutting event was held on 16 February, and was attended by Assistant Minister and Member for Kingsford Smith Matt Thistlethwaite and other special guests.  

Federal Minister for Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Local Government, Catherine King, said that Port Botany’s unique location and connectivity makes it a major gateway for Australia and the world, and that now it will benefit from a major upgrade to its freight line helping to move freight more efficiently and effectively in and out of the port.

“The Federal Government is committed to delivering a more reliable, efficient and sustainable rail freight network to support the modal shift from road to rail,” Ms King said. 

“That’s why we have invested in these upgrades, they are a vital boost to Sydney’s freight network to help meet the growing demand.”

Mr Thistlethwaite said that Port Botany moves the largest number of containers by rail of all Australian ports, with 86 per cent of regional New South Wales’s exports arriving by rail through Port Botany.

“Not only will this vital upgrade help to take trucks off local roads, it will also benefit the New South Wales and Australian economies,” Mr Thistlewaite said. 

ARTC CEO and Managing Director, Wayne Johnson, said that successful completion of the Botany Rail Duplication and Cabramatta Loop projects is a significant boost for Australia’s freight network and will improve reliability and punctuality for freight customers.

“The upgrades will put more freight onto rail, help with congestion on Sydney roads with reduced heavy vehicle movements, contributing to a more efficient transport system and city,” Mr Johnson said. 

“I would like to acknowledge the continued support and added investment by the Federal Government which has enabled these major upgrades to be completed.

“I would also like to thank our project teams along with our construction partners John Holland and Fulton Hogan who worked tirelessly to safely deliver these vital upgrades in complex urban environments, close to other road and rail infrastructure. 

“We also thank Transport for NSW for their supportive coordination in achieving this significant task.”

Featured image: Freight trains on the newly duplicated Botany Rail line. Image credit: Australian Rail Track Corporation.

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