A $12.2 million upgrade of a rail siding at the Ettamogah Rail Hub near Albury is now complete, providing significantly increased efficiency for freight and passenger rail services and capacity to meet growing transport demands.

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development Michael McCormack said the new siding extension will work with Inland Rail to improve regional freight connectivity and reduce the cost for freight operators accessing key markets.

“The Australian Government invested $2.6 million in the 2020–21 Federal Budget to deliver this rail siding and it’s fantastic to see it already complete and operational,” the Deputy Prime Minister said.

“With trains previously having to stop on the mainline to exchange wagons at the hub. This new siding now allows rail operators to move up to 1,800 metre long freight trains off the Main South Rail Line while they are being loaded, allowing other rail traffic to pass.

“The efficient connection of this intermodal in southern New South Wales will support more productive supply chains for local producers, growers and manufacturers as the Ettamogah Rail Hub is strategically placed to drive value from Inland Rail’s fast, cost competitive freight services.”

NSW Minister for Regional Transport and Roads Paul Toole said the NSW Government had invested $7.58 million towards the project from its $400 million Fixing Country Rail program which is boosting capacity, access and reliability across the regional rail network.

“The siding expansion project will increase rail freight volume and efficiency with the siding being extended to around five kilometres allowing better access to the purpose-built inter-modal facility at Ettamogah,” Mr Toole said.

“Projects like these are an absolute game changer, increasing the capacity of the line and ultimately, making the movement of goods more efficient.”

Federal Member for Farrer Sussan Ley said the use of longer trains cuts delivery times and allows more goods to be transported by rail. This reduces costs for both producers and consumers and ensures food, produce and raw materials are able to move to market as efficiently as possible.”

“Extending the siding is also good news for passenger services between Sydney to Albury, with trains no longer delayed by freight waiting to get on to the local intermodal facility,” Ms Ley said.

State Member for Albury Justin Clancy said this siding extension project delivered employment benefits for the local Albury community, with about 22 people employed during construction and four after construction.

“The regional freight task is expected to increase 12 percent by 2036 to 286 million tonnes per year so completing this work now sets the region up well to meet increased demand into the future,” Mr Clancy said.

The Ettamogah Rail Hub delivered the project on behalf of the network owner and operator, ARTC.