ETTT takes shape as last section of track laid

Media Release

WT038/2016

05 February 2016

Joint release with:

Duncan Gay

NSW Minister for Roads, Maritime and Freight

Phillip Ruddock

Federal Member for Berowra

Andrew Constance

NSW Minister for Transport and Infrastructure

Damien Tudehope

Member for Epping

Another major milestone has been met on the $1.1 billion Northern Sydney Freight Corridor (NSFC) upgrade, with the last section of track now laid for the Epping to Thornleigh Third Track (ETTT) project.

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure and Regional Development Warren Truss said the milestone continues the Australian Government's commitment to delivering a fully functioning rail line by mid-2016.

“This particular project involves the construction of six kilometres of new and upgraded track within the rail corridor between Epping and Thornleigh stations on the western side of the existing tracks,” Mr Truss said.

“Over the next six months works will be completed on the construction of retaining walls, electrification works, noise amelioration treatments and landscaping.

“The corridor is vitally important to the national economy, shifting about 1.7 million tonnes or 15 per cent of interstate freight by rail. When the project is finished, northbound freight trains will enjoy additional capacity.”

New South Wales Minister for Transport Andrew Constance said the ETTT project will deliver extensive upgrades to the area's rail line.

“The new track is going to separate northbound freight from passenger train services between Epping and Thornleigh—this means better services and reliability for commuters in the north west of Sydney,” Mr Constance said.

New South Wales Minister for Roads and Freight Duncan Gay said the Northern Sydney Freight Corridor upgrade will remove around 200,000 truck movements from NSW roads every year by 2030.

“NSW is the freight ‘through state’ of eastern Australia, by removing more than 2000,00 trucks a year we improve safety, cut congestion and reduce wear and tear on our roads,” Mr Gay said.

“The NSW Government is committed to improving freight movement across the state—our investment of nearly $117 million into this track is testament to this.”

Federal Member for Berowra Philip Ruddock said the full NSFC upgrade will address a significant bottleneck between Sydney and Newcastle on the east coast interstate rail network.

“Stage 1 of the NSFC upgrade programme is delivering a range of infrastructure improvements to enhance the capacity, reliability and availability of freight services along this line,” Mr Ruddock said.

“The NSFC programme has already delivered around 1,000 jobs since its inception and I am delighted to see the returns this project has delivered to the community.”

New South Wales Member for Epping Damien Tudehope said the ETTT track is the last of four projects that make up Stage 1 of the NSFC programme which also included the North Strathfield Rail Underpass Project, Gosford Passing Loops Project and the Hexham Passing Loop.

“An Operational Noise and Vibration Management Plan for the project has been prepared in accordance with the Environment Protection Authority guidelines and the planning approval conditions for the project— work will now start to ensure local residents most affected have the appropriate attenuation,” Mr Tudehope said.

The $477.4 million Epping to Thornleigh Third Track project is jointly funded by the Australian and New South Wales governments, with $360 million and $117.4 million committed respectively.

The NSFC Programme aims to improve the capacity and reliability of freight trains between Strathfield and Broadmeadow, Newcastle.

The programme will increase capacity for interstate container freight and ease the most serious bottleneck on the East Coast interstate, which connects Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane.