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A RAIL upgrade to 13 kilometres of the South Coast Line is now complete. The $40-million upgrade is to allow larger freight movements on the line.

New South Wales minister for regional transport and roads Sam Farraway said the upgrade would play a significant role in ensuring more freight can be transported by rail in NSW.

“The NSW government is securing a brighter future for NSW families. We are achieving this by building infrastructure that increase productivity around the state to ensure people have their goods and services sooner,” Mr Farraway said.

“Rail freight is the most sustainable and cost-effective way to transport large quantities over long distances – one 600-metre-long train can carry the equivalent load of more than 54 trucks and enough wheat to make more than 250,000 loaves of bread.”

Mr Farraway said with growing freight demand along the South Coast rail line, being able to increase capacity will make a significant difference, allowing users to reach markets quickly and efficiently.

“Thanks to this upgrade, it is anticipated an additional 350,000 tonnes of rail freight will be moved along the South Coast Line each year which will provide a welcome boost to the local economy,” he said.

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Parliamentary Secretary for Wollongong and the Illawarra Peter Poulos said the government is improving NSW’s supply chain network so communities can get the goods and services they want when they need it most.

“Since 2011, $5.15 billion has been committed to upgrading the Princes Highway from Albion Park to the Victorian border,” Mr Poulos said.

“These upgrades along with the completion of the rail line will transform the way freight moves across our state, which helps local businesses, our economy, and most of all families.”

Larger freight trains are expected to be operating on the South Coast Line by July.

Manildra Group national transport and logistics manager Mark Owens said the track upgrade to 25-tonne axle loading between Berry to Bomaderry and the tunnels between Kiama and Berry allows the company to operate heavier and longer rail services through the network.

“This ultimately means we can meet both our current and future growth targets for both inbound raw materials to our Bomaderry facility and for our export freight to Port Botany to meet the export market, which benefits both regional employment and the NSW trade and economy,” he said.

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