Moree to Toowoomba rail line given green light

New rail line will spell the end for many trucks using the Newell Highway, ATEC says

October 23, 2009

Governments have backed a $900 million rail corridor capable of stripping the number of trucks on the Newell Highway.

The Australian Transport and Energy Corridor (ATEC) says many of the 3,000 trucks using the route daily will not be necessary once the 340km Border Railway linking Moree in north-west NSW to Toowoomba west of Brisbane is completed in 2014.

Planning will soon begin on the project after the Queensland and NSW governments endorsed the standard gauge railway.

ATEC Chairman Everald Comptom says the line will connect to the existing railway from Moree to Parkes that links with tracks to Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide and Perth.

ATEC predicts the new project will carry 14 million tonnes of intermodal and bulk freight and will have 2-kilometre passing loops every 50 kilometres.

"This railway offers improved transit times for freight movements between Victoria, NSW and Queensland a more efficient means of transporting both general and bulk freight to the key growth areas of Newcastle and Gladstone," Compton says.

ATEC will construct the line as part of a consortium which involves Laing O’Rourke and the Inland Railway Trust.

ATEC is currently part of a consortium to develop the Surat Basin Railway, an open-access rail corridor linking Toowoomba to the Port of Gladstone.

Compton says ATEC is now in discussions with Prime Minister Kevin Rudd to have the Border and Surat Basin railways declared as national lines linking the ports of Melbourne, Newcastle and Gladstone.

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