WORK has begun on a rail line that is expected to speed up getting commodities from country New South Wales to the great box ships calling at Port Botany.

The project in question is the Tamworth Intermodal Rail Line which is expected to be operating as early as next year and involves Transport for NSW, John Holland Rail, Tamworth Regional Council and Qube Logistics.

Minister for Regional Transport and Roads Paul Toole said the road and rail freight task were both increasing.

“Reactivation of the non-operational rail line between West Tamworth and Westdale will facilitate freight train services to the Tamworth Regional Freight Terminal, opening the gateway with direct rail access to vessels at Port Botany,” Mr O’Toole said.

“The train line is expected to start operating next year which will also help to support ongoing employment in the region.”

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Member for Tamworth Kevin Anderson said re-activating the rail line involved rebuilding about 6km of track, a level crossing, bridge and signalling work, service relocations and drainage improvements.

“The work will be completed on behalf of Transport for NSW by John Holland Rail, and includes early procurement of rail and sleepers, installing fencing at selected locations along the rail corridor and removing redundant infrastructure such as existing rail and sleepers,” Mr Anderson said.

“Site investigation work, including survey, geotechnical testing and assessment of existing bridges, was completed late last year.”

Mr Anderson said the plan to deliver the Tamworth Intermodal Rail Line involved making the most of existing infrastructure, which would provide a significant cost saving and minimise the impact on local traffic.

“Transport for NSW, John Holland Rail, Tamworth Regional Council and Qube Logistics have been working together since June last year to develop a plan for freight trains up to about 900 metres long to service the intermodal terminal,” he said.

The detailed design of the Tamworth Intermodal Rail Line is being finalised and is to integrate the design of the Tamworth Regional Freight Terminal and drainage improvement works, which form part of the wider Glen Artney Enterprise Area development. This is expected to be completed around the middle of this year.

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