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Mid-Western Regional Council voted to request the NSW State Government to consider re-opening the rail line from Kandos to Gulgong.
Cr Percy Thompson brought the motion in light of recent State Government investment in railway, including the Fixing Country Rail (FCRAIL) program to fund rail infrastructure enhancement projects.
Which is funded through a $400 million Rebuilding NSW reservation.
Cr Thompson said there is community demand for the line which would be important for both freight and as a tourist route.
“For a long time since the railway line has been closed from Gulgong through to Kandos people have been asking for it to be opened again,” he said.
“The State Government has been talking about opening up different railway lines and as the inland railway line is going to run from Melbourne to Brisbane, if we want to send stuff from in this area to meet up with that line we need to have this railway open.
“They [NSW Government] can spend millions of dollars on transport areas in the cities, I don’t see how we can’t have our railway line open from Gulgong to Kandos.
“To link up with the line that runs from Newcastle to Fremantle, right across the whole of Australia, once you link up with that line you can send to any state in Australia.
“And we should have our railway line open, which links us through to Sydney as well the biggest metropolitan line in Australia.”
Cr Russell Holden said he supports the motion and that from committees he’s been on knows that reopening the line would be costly but worth it.
“The estimates for Kandos to Rylstone are $625,000 to $1 million,” he said. “The problem we’ve got as far as Rylstone through to Mudgee, then to Gulgong is the wooden bridges and the estimation there is $6 million per bridge. And there’s at least three that need to be replaced if not four or five – the other two may just get major works.
“So we’re talking about a lot of money, but it’s a worthy cause, it came out of the community consultation and a lot of people would like to see the rail line restored in our region.”
Cr Peter Shelley mentioned the work done to try to get the Kandos-Rylstone link re-opened and said Council has long supported getting the whole line functioning.
“The Kandos Museum and the committee there are doing fantastic job already lobbying to get the line open Kandos and Rylstone especially for heritage and tourism trains,” he said.
“As for Rylstone through to Gulgong we have a standing resolution of council that we support it - that was done unanimously – and it continues to this day.”
Standing in their way in regards to FCRAIL is that applicants that can receive funding are restricted to rail asset owner/managers and Council is not identified as a stakeholder that could submit an application.
Cr Paul Cavalier said, “it’s unfortunate that we’re not eligible to apply for the funding that’s mentioned in the report but our support being reaffirmed by way of speaking with the State Government can’t hurt.”
This article first appeared on www.mudgeeguardian.com.au
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