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A HILLS community group remains steadfast in its calls for a rail bypass ahead of the opening of a rail loop that will see double the number of freight trains pass through Mitcham.
The Ambleside Crossing Loop, which will allow 1.8km long freight trains to use the Hills freight line, will open near Balhannah and Verdun by the end of the year.
Mitcham Rail and Transport Committee chairman and Mitcham Cr Mark Ward said the group still wanted the Federal Government to investigate options for a rail bypass to divert freight trains away from the suburbs.
"If you're going to spend money on the loop and the upgrade why wouldn't you make a decision about a bypass?"
Cr Ward told the Mitcham & Hills Messenger last week.
"The upgrade of the line (and the new loop) will double the amount of trains through the Hills each week.
"Instead of the 90 a week we get now, we'll get 200 a week."
Cr Ward said the group was "still scratching its head" about why a bypass was not seen as the best option.
"Seventy per cent of freight trains don't need to come through the Hills," he said.
"A bypass is the best way forward for the future."
An Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC) spokeswoman told theMitcham & Hills Messenger last week the Ambleside Crossing Loop would increase the capacity and efficiency of the Hills freight line.
"The loop isn't seeing an immediate increase in the amount of freight trains," the spokeswoman said.
"It just gives us the capacity to do so in the future."
This article first appeared on www.dailytelegraph.com.au
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