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A town built for the railways nearly 140 years ago can now boast a new railway life after Crawfords Freightlines announced they will build a major new intermodal railway hub near the town.
Werris Creek locals are over the moon, with 40 jobs up for grabs at the start of the project and about 140 jobs available once the hub is functioning. It is also a big boost for Liverpool Plains agribusiness with growers now having fast and secure rail access to the Port of Botany and also north and west.
Already surveyors are on site north of the town planning the hub after the Liverpool Plains Shire Council approved the development application on September 11.
Werris Creek has been the famous junction for two northern rail lines and Liverpool Plains Shire council mayor Andrew Hope said the Australian-owned company had been strategically clever in selecting Werris Creek as its new rail freight hub.
It was an exciting project that would give hope to the town in the middle of a miserable drought, he said.
He fully expected Crawfords would invest in the town during construction and there would be a flow-on to businesses including cafes and hotels in the town as the project gets underway.
Crawfords says the facility will “revitalise the region” with a minimum of 25 full-time jobs at the start. The council expects there could be up to 40 jobs in the start-up.
“The construction of such a facility and its inclusion in the economic development of the region will be a great opportunity to every sector of business including but not limited to the transport of grain, farm equipment, timber, meat, fertiliser and other materials more efficiently by rail, reducing trucks and congestion travelling to all three ports located in Port Botany,” Crawfords said.
Crawfords said the “potential for growth is huge as the North West Express will link with other modes of transport servicing Moree, Narrabri, Inverell, Armidale, Tamworth and the entire New England area”
Mr Hope said it made sense to locate the hub at Werris Creek and that Crawfords would be able to link into the Inland Rail network, which is currently under construction.
As with some towns in NSW, Werris Creek owes its existence to the railways after nealry 500 railway workers were located there to help build the northern railway line to Tamworth in 1877.
It later became a major junction for the branch line to Gunnedah and Moree.
Even the town’s streets are in the form of railway signals. It also has a heritage listed railway station.
“This will really get our economy moving,” Mr Hope said. “We were more than eager to get this project moving.”
This article first appeared on www.theland.com.au
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