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Freight rail bypass better idea than WestConnex – Australian Financial Review

PUBLISHED: 14 JAN 2014 06:44:27 | UPDATED: 14 JAN 2014 06:44:27

Port Botany container trucks will require 50 per cent of Sydney’s M5 East westbound tunnel’s capacity and 25 per cent of the eastbound tunnel’s capacity when the terminal reaches “natural capacity” of 13 million by 2040. This defeats the purpose of building WestConnex.

Increasing the port’s selling price (“The inside story of the astonishing $5.1 billion NSW Ports sale”,AFR, January 3) was achieved by the NSW government abolishing the cap on container throughput, which existed because of inadequate transport infrastructure. Maximum rail capacity is a meagre 2 million containers, while 5.5 million truck movements would be needed in 2040 to transport another 11 million containers.

NSW government policy, however, is to build a freight rail to bypass Sydney, between Glenfield and Newcastle. Railing all containers between a container terminal at Newcastle and an intermodal terminal at Eastern Creek would pay for the new line.

Freight can then be removed from Sydney’s rail network, increasing rail’s share of urban travel, and $4.4 billion will be saved by cancelling stages two and three of the Northern Sydney Freight Corridor.

Interstate goods entering Sydney can be railed, not trucked.

The freight rail corridor between Epping, Strathfield and White Bay can be used for the new North West Rail passenger service. Sydney Airport’s environmental performance and passenger capacity can be improved by extending the parallel runway and building a second cross runway, using the container terminal site.

Creg Cameron
Florey, ACT

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