3 years behind schedule and $700m over budget, the Southern Sydney Freight Line was opened yesterday. This new line will separate freight trains from passenger trains between Sefton and Macarthur, which until now had required an 8 hour curfew between the morning and afternoon peak hours that prevented freight trains from using that section of the line.
Sydney previously had an exclusive freight rail line only between Port Botany through to Sefton (red in the diagram below), with freight trains having to share track with passenger trains on the Western, Northern, South, and Illawarra Lines. There was also a freight line that connected Dulwich Hill to Darling Harbour, but the conversion of Sydney Harbour from a working port to a cultural centre has allowed that line to be used for light rail.
The South Sydney Freight Line (blue in the diagram above) will now allow trains to continue South unimpeded by passenger trains. It will later be supplemented by the Northern Sydney Freight Line (orange in the diagram above), which will allow freight trains to cross the entirety of metropolitan Sydney without disrupting passenger services, helping to take more trucks off the road.
‘We wanted to make sure we got it right’: new rail line opens … three years late, Sydney Morning Herald
Freight train bottleneck solution finally lands, with $1b price tag, Sydney Morning Herald
New freight link boosts speed: govt, Daily Telegraph