First of $21 million NSW grain rail siding upgrades now complete in Ardlethan
Member for Cootamundra, Katrina Hodgkinson today announced the completion of upgrade work on regional rail lines in Ardlethan which will reduce loading times for trains moving grain to NSW ports and mills.
“This is great news for Ardlethan and great news for local farmers,” Katrina said.
“It’s terrific to see that the first project of upgrading rail sidings to align with industry investment on the network at Ardlethan is now complete.
“Ardlethan was among the first sites to be selected for the upgrade. The NSW Government has invested $2.5 million to extend the existing rail siding by 750 metres to 1,170 metres,” Katrina said.
Together with new over-rail loading equipment such as loading gantries connected to silos which will be installed by GrainCorp and Emerald Grain, these improvements will save between five and seven hours in train loading time by reducing shunting.
“Once GrainCorp and Emerald Grain complete their upgrades at Ardlethan in early 2016, growers should see the cost savings passed to them from their suppliers because of the investment we have made on our network to enable them to reduce their operating costs.
“These upgrades, coupled with the critical receival and out-loading infrastructure investments being made by industry, will help build stronger freight infrastructure across the grain belt to ensure producers can move their products to market on time and at lower cost,” Katrina said.
The NSW Government is funding a program of upgrades to lengthen sidings to allow faster loading and trains to operate more efficiently on the grain rail network. The government is consulting with grain receivers and regional transport operators to identify a list of key sites for potential upgrades.
“A total of $21 million is being spent on upgrading rail sidings on the Country Regional Network over the next three years with the biggest beneficiaries being NSW grain growers.”
Katrina said the broad acre grain crop is worth $4.2 billion each year to the NSW economy and is reliant on an efficient rail and road network including strong connections to silos and intermodal terminals.
Under the rail sidings program announced in the 2014-15 NSW Budget, upgrade projects will be carried out at selected sites across NSW in the next three years. Project selection is based on highest benefit for NSW.
“It is important that a sustained and collaborative effort between industry and government continues so that we can eliminate constraints on the freight network and ensure our regional economies stay strong,” said Katrina.