Coonamble-Gilgandra rail in line for $24M upgrade

Grain Central, February 3, 2023

Coonamble Shire mayor Tim Horan, Minister Sam Farraway and NSW Farmers treasurer and Trangie producer Peter Wilson at today’s announcement at Curban. Photo: NSW Government

THE NSW Government has today announced funding of more than $24 million to upgrade 96km of rail line between Gilgandra and Coonamble to help boost freight loads and lower costs.

Upgrade work on the line is expected to start in mid-2023, weather and material supply permitting.

NSW Minister for Regional Transport and Roads Sam Farraway said the funding was part of the government’s $400M Fixing Country Rail Program.

“The rail line will be upgraded to a 25-tonne axle load to allow access for heavier trains and increase the total produce that can be transported through the region from the current 84t gross weight limit to 100t per wagon,” Mr Farraway said.

“By upgrading the rail line between Gilgandra and Coonamble, we’re enabling the line to provide the same axle load capability of the Inland Rail alignment that will connect at Curban in the future.

“It takes an average of 10 hours to load a freight train.

“By upgrading our rail network through…we will allow more freight to be transported per trip, reducing delays and allowing goods and produce to get from farms and factories to our ports and supermarket shelves quicker.

“Big loads and long distances are where our rail network shines.

“Rail freight is the most cost-effective way to transport large quantities over long distances with one 600m-long train carrying the equivalent load of at least 54 trucks.”

Manildra Group’s national transport and logistics manager Mark Owens said the investment will be a boost for farmers, manufacturers and exporters in getting goods to the market more efficiently.

“We have been advocating for this project for some time,” Mr Owens said.

“We are pleased to hear of the NSW Liberal and Nationals Government investment as this project will be consistent with alignment and load limit requirements of the Inland Rail.”

Gilgandra Shire mayor Doug Batten said the funding would ensure that  25t axle-weight grain trains on the Gilgandra-Coonamble line would be capable of joining the Inland Rail line at its intersection at Curban.

“This is one of many Inland Rail initiatives Gilgandra Council has been advocating for since the announcement of the Inland Rail Project,” Mr Batten said.

“The project is a game-changer for Gilgandra in connecting our farmers to the rest of the state and strengthening our local economy.

“This line services a large cereal and grain producing region supplying the domestic flour milling, oilseed and stockfeed sectors and bulk exports markets via Port Kembla and Newcastle; it is a vital part of the state’s economy.”

Coonamble Shire Council mayor Tim Horan said the project will build on the benefits of another Fixing Country Rail project delivered on this line: the $2.5M Coonamble rail siding.

“The Coonamble rail siding project was completed in 2020 and has boosted the capacity on this line allowing for an extra 450 operational hours per year on this line,” Mr Horan said.

“That means more goods are being transported from paddock to port and today’s news will further strengthen the rail line and our supply chain.

“It will also open up opportunities for economic growth for existing business and any looking to move out to the bush.”

Since 2017, Fixing Country Rail has provided more than $270M for more than 50 rail-improvement projects.

Source: NSW Government


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  1. Terry Richardson, February 6, 2023

    Two items. 1/ What happens to this project if the LNP lose government this year? Is there any commitment from Labour to continue with it?
    2/ Is there even the remotest of chances that passenger services could be returned? To this, and other train-ready lines such as Mudgee, Cowra/Young, Nyngan?

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