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Urban rail news in brief - July 2015
Inland rail a trifecta for Toowoomba region: mayor
GRAIN farmers won’t be the only ones reaping the rewards of the proposed inland rail, with regional communities set to be hubs for warehousing and logistics.
The $4.5 billion Melbourne to Brisbane Inland Railway would see at least three regional hubs developed, depending on the route taken.
In the State’s north, Moree is almost certain to have its own stop on the line, with the council looking to develop an intermodal terminal.
Parkes is already on the job, having developed its 516-hectare National Logistics Hub, while Wagga Wagga City Council is waiting for more funding before approving the proposed Riverina Intermodal Freight and Logistics (RIFL) hub.
Meanwhile, in Narrandera, which sits on the alternate route for the inland rail, the council is pushing hard to have the rail through the “more direct” route to Shepparton and through to Melbourne.
The federal government has committed $300 million to the project, expected to be completed within 10 years.
The next step is deciding the route, a decision for the newly-formed Inland Railway Implementation Group, led by former deputy Prime Minister and transport minister John Anderson.
Australasian Railway Association (ARA) chief executive Bryan Nye spoke about the project’s benefit to regional communities at the recent Melbourne to Brisbane Inland Rail Symposium held at Moree.
“Residents along the route should be excited,” Mr Nye said.
“It’s (the railway) designed to take freight from Melbourne to Brisbane but what you will see along the route is other terminals being established for consolidated freight handling.
“It means the people of regional NSW can get their products to the ports of Brisbane and Melbourne far quicker than they can via road.”
Road haulage estimates for 2020 highlighted the need for rail, with the 1800 daily truck movements along the Newell Highway expected to double in the next 10 to 15 years.
“At the moment it’s about one truck a minute, but it could be one every 30 seconds and that certainly has an impact on towns along the Newell,” said Parkes mayor Ken Keith.
“The railway will relieve the burden of trucks and improve safety, and it’ll have a big impact on the road condition.”
The ARA had been “extremely keen” about the inland railway project for years, Mr Nye said.
“It was our number one issue for lobbying in the last election but there was no hype about it because both sides of government agreed they would make it happen.”
This article first appeared on www.theland.com.au
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