AN EXTENSION to the rail siding at Coolamon is expected to boost efficiency for the out-turn of grain in the Riverina region of New South Wales.
Located about 40km north-west of Wagga Wagga, the $11.7-million project has extended the Coolamon siding from 920m to 1530m, enabling more efficient access for modern freight trains that are up to 1500m in length.
Sidings allow trains to temporarily exit the main line so passenger and other freight services can pass while the train is loading or unloading.
The Coolamon siding extension aims to increase the capacity, access and reliability of the region’s rail network to transport local canola, wheat, barley, oats and other cereals.
Bulk freight trains move most of the region’s grain harvest to NSW ports, resulting in around 1500 train movements per year.
Transport for NSW senior program manager Simon Bingham said the Coolamon extension was crucial to the efficient movement of food, produce and raw materials that feed and power the state.
“The Coolamon rail siding extension is a win-win project, as it benefits freight producers, operators and customers, as well as people using regional passenger trains. It also contributes to the economic growth in rural areas,” Mr Bingham said.
“This project has brought a significant benefit to the local rail corridor but, when combined with other rail-freight projects delivered in the region, it means the broader rail network will become incrementally more efficient.
“That efficiency will help the industry coax freight from road on to rail.”
Mr Bingham said the project allowed for improved scheduling of freight and passenger services on the line, as well as more efficient loading and shunting activities at the site.
“The siding extension means the Coolamon rail precinct will be more flexible, with trains able to use the new siding to load and unload while letting trains travelling on the main line to safely pass.”
Construction of the siding extension started in July 2023 and was completed last month.
Country Regional Network contractor UGL Regional Linx carried out the work, with up to 30 team members involved in the delivery of the project.
Several rail siding extensions and new rail siding projects have been funded by the NSW Government, including the $2.15M Temora West project completed in 2020, and the new $14.4M siding installed at the Riverina Intermodal Freight and Logistics Hub completed in 2021.
Source: Transport for NSW