Re­align the route

Rail freight plan could be detri­men­tal to Fin­ley: Carr

Southern Riverina news - - NEWS -

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.

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