Freight funds

Nar­ran­dera-Toc rail­way re-open­ing to be in­ves­ti­gated

Southern Riverina news - - FRONT PAGE -

The NSW Govern­ment has com­mit­ted fund­ing to in­ves­ti­gate re-open­ing the rail­way line be­tween Tocumwal and Nar­ran­dera.

NSW Deputy Pre­mier John Barilaro and Min­is­ter for Roads, Mar­itime and Freight Melinda Pavey jointly an­nounced the $500,000 al­lo­ca­tion for a fea­si­bil­ity study on Mon­day even­ing.

It would also in­clude look­ing at a busi­ness case on re­ac­ti­vat­ing the 180km stretch of rail for freight net­works, ex­tend­ing the rail ac­cess to Port of Mel­bourne.

Tocumwal Cham­ber of Com­merce and Tourism pres­i­dent Ser­gio Rede­galli said the project would sup­port the on­go­ing growth of the Tocumwal re­gion.

And he said while fo­cussed on freight im­prove­ment, the project could also spark a new dis­cus­sion about a lo­cal pas­sen­ger rail ser­vice.

‘‘Once you get a line work­ing you can lobby to push for a pas­sen­ger line to be used on the tracks,’’ he said.

‘‘This could re­ally help our tourism in­dus­try.

‘‘How good would it be to have old steam trains us­ing the line? It would be a great draw­card to Tocumwal.

‘‘Our only con­cerns about the project would be around noise from the freight trains and pos­si­bly pub­lic safety is­sues around traf­fic and the speed of trains, how­ever I’m sure those will be ad­dressed.’’

Ber­ri­gan Shire Coun­cil is so far re­luc­tant to com­ment on the fund­ing in de­tail, un­til more in­for­ma­tion is avail­able.

How­ever, coun­cil di­rec­tor of cor­po­rate ser­vices Matt Hansen said it sup­ports the govern­ment’s in­vest­ment in the rail line.

‘‘Ber­ri­gan Shire is ex­cited to see some money on the ta­ble for the Tocumwal-Nar­ran­dera rail­way,’’ he said.

‘‘It’s part of our lo­cal econ­omy and any in­vest­ment from any level of govern­ment would be wel­comed.’’

Mrs Pavey said a more di­rect rail link to the ports via Tocumwal could re­duce the cost of trans­port­ing pro­duce by as much as 20 per cent.

‘‘We’re tak­ing trucks off the road and putting freight on the tracks, re­duc­ing the price of rail freight, re­duc­ing cy­cle times and tak­ing the pres­sure off lo­cal roads,’’ she said.

The NSW Govern­ment will also in­vest $600,000 to de­sign and start pre- con­struc­tion ac­tiv­i­ties for a re­con­fig­ured junc­tion at Junee North.

Both fund­ing al­lo­ca­tions are through the NSW Govern­ment’s Fix­ing Coun­try Rail pro­gram.

NSW Deputy Pre­mier John Barilaro it will be a huge boost for Rive­rina farm­ers.

‘‘The Junee North Tri­an­gle and the Nar­ran­dera-Tocumwal Rail­way re­ac­ti­va­tion will re­ceive a to­tal of $1.1 mil­lion in fund­ing for de­sign and pre-con­struc­tion work,’’ Mr Barilaro said.

‘‘We recog­nise this beau­ti­ful re­gion is the food bowl of the west — pro­duc­ing sig­nif­i­cant vol­umes of grain, rice, wine, meat, cot­ton and other hor­ti­cul­tural prod­ucts for both do­mes­tic and ex­port mar­kets.

‘‘The costs as­so­ci­ated with trans­port­ing pro­duce for ex­port is one of the largest in­puts for many busi­nesses in this re­gion.’’

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