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The problems of the South Coast train line feature in a federal government document looking to fund better rail links.
The Faster Rail prospectus was launched this week, with a $20 million pool of funding to direct toward projects that speed up rail services and boost housing and job opportunities.
The funding is part of the federal government’s “passenger rail agenda”, which also included the $10 billion National Rail Program.
Federal Infrastructure and Transport Minister Darren Chester called for state governments to submit business cases for projects that would better link capital cities and regional areas.
“Helping deliver the investment needed to unlock faster rail commutes will cut travel times, boost Australia’s economic productivity, reduce freight costs, and improve commuters’ quality of life,” said Federal Infrastructure and Transport Minister Darren Chester.
The 24-page prospectus mentioned Wollongong four times, which some have taken as a gentle prodding to the NSW Government to put forward submissions to improve the South Coast line.
The prospectus compared the 80km/h speeds of trains on other lines to speeds of less than 60km/h on the South Coast line.
“If the Wollongong to Sydney speed could be increased to 80km/h per hour, the commuting time would drop from 86 minutes to around an hour,” the prospectus stated.
It also highlighted the problems with increasing speed on the line.
“Among the factors that constrain the speed is that at one location there is a tunnel only large enough for one line, meaning trains often need to wait for a train coming from the other direction before they can pass through,” the prospectus said.
The Illawarra Business Chamber has thrown its weight behind the South West Illawarra Rail Link (SWIRL), an upgraded version of the Maldon-Dombarton line.
“At last there is a potential funding source that could assist in constructing SWIRL and improve the South Coast line,” said executive director Chris Lamont.
Transport for NSW was asked if it was planning to submit proposals for either the South Coast line or SWIRL before the federal government’s stage one deadline of October 13.
Transport for NSW did not respond to the Mercury’s questions before deadline.
This article first appeared on www.illawarramercury.com.au
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