Modernisation of the Interstate Rail Network is designed to speed up the movement of trains through Sydney, take up to 200,000 trucks a year off its roads and improve the reliability of passenger trains.
Federal infrastructure and transport minister Anthony Albanese joined NSW premier Barry O’Farrell today for the announcement, with both pledging to work together to upgrade the corridor from North Strathfield through Sydney’s northern suburbs to Newcastle.
“At present, Sydney is the biggest bottleneck on the main line between Melbourne and Brisbane,” said Albanese. “The Northern Sydney Freight Corridor Upgrade project will ease this congestion by greatly expanding track capacity along this 160km-long corridor.
“After almost three years of detailed planning and preconstruction activities, we’ve today pressed the ‘go’ button on a project which will help keep Sydney and Australia moving.”
The project is jointly funded by the federal (AU$840m) and New South Wales (AU$214m) governments. It includes a rail underpass at North Strathfield, laying of a third track between Epping and Pennant Hill, installation of new passing loops near Gosford and construction of a holding track at Hexham.
These improvements will enable better coordination of freight and passenger services. New passing loops and new track will reduce the impact of freight trains on passenger services providing locations for passenger trains to overtake slower freight trains.