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A $7.6 million funding boost to make the Ettamogah Rail Hub more efficient shapes as the “game-changer” to upgrading the nearby Davey Road intersection to a full diamond interchange.
The funding injection will extend the hub’s siding capacity by more than 5km so trains longer than 1.2km don’t have to be loaded off the main line between Sydney and Melbourne which stops other trains using the section for up to 30 minutes more than 10 times per week.
It will lead to more goods being transported by rail and an anticipated increase in traffic in the area will put pressure on existing road links including the Davey Road interchange on the Hume Freeway.
Albury Council has long been lobbying governments to add south-facing ramps to the intersection with member for Albury Greg Aplin confirming the rail hub upgrade and Davey Road projects were inter-connected.
A major funding application for Davey Road is presently sitting with the NSW Government with an announcement expected later this year.
“This was something I saw as the game-changer,” Mr Aplin said.
“It is why we’ve worked so hard to make it a reality.
“It lends more strength to the other application.
“As you generate more traffic with the additional freight you need the additional infrastructure to support it.
Rail hub chief operating officer Cameron Jackson said 20,000 container movements took place at the hub annually with capacity to double the figure.
But the present arrangements of stopping trains on the main line wasn’t sustainable, particularly with inland rail on the horizon.
“Since 2009 we’ve shunted the trains in this way, but with an extension we will now pull off the main line and no longer be clogging up the main line and holding up traffic,” he said.
“At the moment we shunt on and off the main line in about 25 to 30 minutes.
“It doesn’t happen in too many other places in the country, but with this funding it stops all that.
“The government is future-proofing this rail hub, but it is on their land and is their asset.”
The Ettamogah Rail Hub is also contributing a “seven-figure” sum to the project.
Albury mayor Kevin Mack said funding was welcomed.
“It is great news for all concerned, great news for Ettamogah Rail Hub and gives us great hope for funding for Davey Road and Nexus,” he said.
“But it is quite curious why council wasn’t notified given the time and effort we put into this project to enable it to happen on behalf of the team at Ettamogah Rail Hub.”
Murray-Riverina NSW Business Chamber regional manager Andrew Cottrill said the funding was a major break-through for the Davey Road upgrade and Nexus industrial estate created by Albury Council.
“The already massive private and local government investments in Ettamogah Rail Hub and the Nexus industrial estate can now come to life with state government funding injections clearing the way for private investors to take advantage of quality affordable industrial land with direct access to the inland rail network,” he said.
“The last piece of the puzzle is the southern ramps at Davey Road, which have federal government support, but require matched state funding which will make this an investment destination to rival any in the country.”
This article first appeared on www.bordermail.com.au
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