Realign the route
Rail freight plan could be detrimental to Finley: Carr
An alternate route through Finley must be considered if the Narrandera-Tocumwal railway is to be re-opened, Finley Chamber of Commerce, Agriculture and Industry president Gary Carr has said.
The proposed railway is to be investigated in a study funded by the NSW Government, and Mr Carr said the existing railway line runs right through the centre of Finley’s Railway Park — the location of many community events.
The railway line also runs quite close to new housing developments, he said.
Mr Carr said without a change to the route, the proposal to reinstate the freight line could be ‘‘to the detriment of Finley’’.
‘‘Chamber would welcome trains running again through Finley because of the economic gain this might create,’’ Mr Carr said.
‘‘However the existing railway line runs through Railway Park and close to a new housing subdivision; it would probably be better located out of the main railway precinct.
‘‘Chamber is trying to utilise Railway Park as much as possible and is working closely with Berrigan Shire to develop it into a major social and event hub for Finley.
‘‘We all saw how it was the perfect location for the FinCity music and food festival on October 14.
‘‘If a train does go through the centre of town, I think it will be to the detriment of events like the Finley Farmers’ Market, FinCity and the Xmas Xtravaganza, plus the surrounding houses that are situated close to the old tracks.
‘‘Furthermore, the housing developments in that area — in Lewis Crescent and Malone Mews — are helping us draw more people to Finley with comfortable and affordable living. This could be impacted.’’
Mr Carr said the proposal could also jeopardise funding agreements to improve Railway Park for the community, which includes a Berrigan Shire Council commitment to build a toilet block by June 30, 2018.
Berrigan Shire director of corporate services Matt Hansen said council still knows very little official information about the proposal to reopen the railway line between Tocumwal and Narrandera.
‘‘The council is unaware of the proposed terms of reference of the feasibility study, including any proposed route,’’ Mr Hansen said.
‘‘We are obviously keen for local communities to be able to have their say about proposed routes, but until more information about the proposal and the feasibility study is forthcoming, council is unable to comment.’’
NSW Deputy Premier John Barilaro last month committed $500,000 to a study to determine the feasibility of re-opening the trainline through the Southern Riverina.
It is believed Finley’s railway line was last used for freight in 1987.