Fast rail network to benefit Western NSW: Premier Berejiklian

REGIONAL RAIL LINKS: The proposed fast rail networks across regional NSW. Image: NSW GOVERNMENT
REGIONAL RAIL LINKS: The proposed fast rail networks across regional NSW. Image: NSW GOVERNMENT

RESIDENTS and businesses in Lithgow, Bathurst, Orange and Parkes will benefit if a proposed fast rail network is built by the NSW Government.

Four potential routes have already been identified to link regional centres with each other and Sydney.

The proposed Western Route would include Lithgow, Bathurst and Orange and Parkes; while northern, southern coastal and southern inland routes are in the plans.

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian said on Tuesday that work on the rail links would start in the next term of government and the high speed rail network would significantly slash travel times across the state.

She said the network would give people greater choice about where they live and how they commute to work.

“We know a fast rail network will transform NSW unlike any other project and we will make it a reality,” Ms Berejiklian said.

RAIL NETWORK: The NSW Government's proposed fast rail network would boost Western NSW business and transport links. Photo: FILE

RAIL NETWORK: The NSW Government's proposed fast rail network would boost Western NSW business and transport links. Photo: FILE

“We need to make it easier for people to consider moving to regional NSW and there is no better way to do that than building a fast rail network.”

High speed rail expert Professor Andrew McNaughton has been appointed to confirm the most appropriate routes, train speeds and station locations.

The four routes identified by the NSW Government are within 300 kilometres from Sydney:

  • Western Route including Lithgow, Bathurst and Orange / Parkes
  • Northern Route including the Central Coast and Newcastle
  • Southern Inland Route including Goulburn and Canberra
  • Southern Coastal Route including Wollongong and Nowra.

“The expert will provide advice to Government on what is possible and what would be involved,” Ms Berejiklian said.

The delivery of fast rail on those routes has the potential to slash travel times by up to 75 per cent.

Ultimately, in the long term, high speed rail would see the development of new alignments and lines, providing speeds of over 250km/h, with examples overseas travelling up to 350km/h and higher – giving the potential to cut travel times by up to 75 per cent.

Minister for Transport and Infrastructure Andrew Constance

Deputy Premier and Minister for Regional NSW John Barilaro said a $4.6 million allocation from Snowy Hydro Fund to develop fast rail will further boost confidence in regional NSW. 

“We need to do the work to gauge what is possible and when,” he said.

“Making regional travel faster, safer and easier brings huge economic potential to NSW regional towns and cities by making it easier to invest, do business, build a lifestyle and visit our regional towns.

“We are delivering better water security, digital connectivity and freight connections from the Snowy Hydro fund and now developing game changing infrastructure to access regional NSW."

The advice from Professor McNaughton will pave the way for the NSW Government to take a new approach to the delivery of fast rail by identifying immediate improvements to existing rail corridors, while undertaking long-term visionary planning.

This approach allows for significant improvements in travel times for customers in the coming years, while at the same time delivering the building blocks for a high speed dedicated rail network.

Minister for Transport and Infrastructure Andrew Constance said a faster rail would see upgrades along existing rail alignments and provide services of at least 200km/h.

“Ultimately, in the long term, high speed rail would see the development of new alignments and lines, providing speeds of over 250km/h, with examples overseas travelling up to 350km/h and higher – giving the potential to cut travel times by up to 75 per cent,” he said.