Investigating Faster Rail to open up housing supply north of Sydney

Friday, 09 March 2018

The Australian Government has today committed funding towards a business case to develop a faster rail line from Sydney to Newcastle under the $20 million Faster Rail initiative.


This proposal by the NSW Government is one of three business cases being funded under the initiative following a competitive assessment process.


Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure and Transport Michael McCormack said rail investment was a key part of the Australian Government’s $75 billion investment in infrastructure which includes $10 billion for a National Rail Program for urban and regional passenger rail projects and $8.4 billion toward Inland Rail.


Minister for Urban Infrastructure and Cities Paul Fletcher said the intention of this process was to develop detailed proposals for faster rail services between major cities and surrounding regional areas to increase connectivity, speed or frequency of rail services, giving more people the option to enjoy the lifestyle of a regional town while being able to access the deep job market of a capital city.


Member for Robertson Lucy Wicks said the proposal would explore options for upgrades to the existing line between Sydney and Newcastle that would significantly reduce travel times by up to an hour between the two cities.


“If this project is successful beyond the business case stage, travel times could be reduced from approximately three hours to just two and potentially open up housing supply and new job opportunities,” Mrs Wicks said.


“We have around 30,000 hard-working commuters on the Central Coast, leaving early in the morning and returning home late at night to their families. We launched the Faster Rail Prospectus at Gosford Station last year, and I look forward to meeting with commuters in coming weeks to discuss this next step forward in helping to increase capacity and improve travel times.


“The business case will investigate works including reducing track curvature, deviations and realignments, removal of level crossings, junction rearrangement and better segregation of passenger and freight services.”


The Australian Government will co-fund the business case with the NSW Government. The business case is expected to be delivered in the next 12 to 18 months and will then proceed to independent assessment by Infrastructure Australia.


The decision to fund these faster rail business cases does not indicate a commitment to fund the infrastructure projects but is instead focused on investigating the viability of such proposals.


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