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Just the ticket for Country Rail

There were two major train related announcements this week. The first was the start of the Fixing Country Rail program, which will improve both our freight rail lines and also reduce traffic congestion on our roads. The second is that Thomas the Tank Engine is getting an Australian companion. We cover both stories for you.

Getting the investment we need in regional infrastructure seems to only happen when The Nats are in Government. This week Minister for Roads and Freight Duncan Gay went out to Moree to be greeted by local MPs, Member for New England Adam Marshall and Member for Parkes Mark Coulton, to announce that Expressions of Interest are open for the $15 million form Fixing Country Rail pilot program.

The pilot program will be the first step in a $400 million dollar investment that will fix our country rail lines and help with moving freight in and out of regional areas. The funding will really target some of the backbone infrastructure such as rail sidings, passing loops, re-opening unused rail lines and track upgrades to enable increased axel weights.

This will improve freight movements between farms, key freight hubs like grain silos, saleyards, rail heads, supermarket distribution centres and depots. It will also have a huge impact on quality of life for all of us, as more freight can be carried on the train lines rather than on our roads.

In a happy coincidence, possibly designed to coincide with this funding announcement, the Thomas the Tank Engine show announced a new Aussie character called Shane who will be joining Thomas in his next animated movie, Thomas & Friends: The Great Race. We think Shane and all the trains that run on our rail lines are cheering the news this week.

Learn more about Fixing Country Rail here: http://freight.transport.nsw.gov.au/network/rail/fixing-country-rail/index.html

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