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A study to assess the feasibility of a Canberra to Eden railway line will be completed before the end of June, with the contract to carry out the study expected to be awarded by April 2.
The NSW government announced $1 million in funding for the study in August last year, after engineer Edwin Michell developed a concept plan that proposes to rebuild the existing rail line between Queanbeyan and Bombala.
Under the proposal, the line would be extended north to Canberra Airport and south to the Port of Eden for freight and passenger journeys.
John Holland Rail, which has been appointed by the NSW government's transport department to manage and operate the state's regional rail network, is inviting tenders for the study until Wednesday.
The study, which must be completed by June 28 under the terms of the tender, will identify the freight and passenger demand for the route, as well as the timing, cost and engineering requirements of the proposed project.
Mr Michell, who prepared the concept plan on behalf of the Cooma and Monaro Progress Association, has previously estimated construction of the project at $2.27 billion, or $2.95 billion including contingency funding.
During a presentation at the Engineers Australia offices in Canberra late last year, he said construction of the Canberra to Cooma section of the route carried an estimated cost of $386 million, with Cooma to Bombala likely to need $261 million.
The Bombala to Eden section would require an estimated $1.06 billion, with almost three-quarters of the cost to be spent on bridges, tunnels and earthworks.
Contractor and client costs, as well as contingency funding, would make up the remainder of the estimated spend.
In his presentation, Mr Michell said the line had eight potential stations – Canberra Airport, Michelago, Bredbo, Cooma, Nimmitabel, Bombala, Towamba and Boydtown in Eden.
"All ... have the potential for high-quality residential development nearby at relatively low cost," he said.
It would take two hours and 19 minutes to travel from Canberra to Eden, Mr Michell said, compared to a journey of three hours and 11 minutes by car.
This article first appeared on www.canberratimes.com.au
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