Southern Sydney Freight Line opens

Posted: January 22, 2013 in Transport
Tags: ,

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.

Moorebank Intermodal

The Southern Sydney Freight Line is shown in green. Click on image for higher resolution. (Source: Department of Infrastructure and Transport)

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.

Media reports

Billion-dollar freight rail line opens in Sydney, ABC News

‘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

  1. David Sanderson says:

    I live in Marrickville near the freight line. Will the new Southern line mean fewer freight trains running at night now that the daytime peak curfew has gone?
    If so that would be a big plus for residents.

  2. That should happen. Though keep in mind that the volume of container movements from Port Botany is set to rise dramatically in coming years and decades, so don’t be surprised if the daytime slots start filling up and freight movements spill over back into the night time hours.

    A second airport (either at Badgerys Creek or Wilton) and/or construction of the Maldon to Dombarton Line (linking Port Kembla to the Southern Sydney Freight Line) would both take some strain off Port Botany, and hence the section of the line that passes Marrickville. It’s currently uncertain as to whether either of those 2 projects will go ahead.

  3. David Sanderson says:

    Thanks Bambul. The two projects you mention would provide a significant economic boost, especially for Western Sydney. Hoping that the current myopia, especially at state level, might be overcome so these projects can proceed.

  4. moonetau says:

    The rail link to Port Botany is still single line (the last few kilometres), and until this section is doubled there will be a limit to what can be trained to Chullora / Enfield and Moorebank (and there is still considerable doubt about who will do it and its exact location).
    Does anyone have figures on the origin/destination of containers to/from Port Botany?
    I have a feeling that most won’t need to double handled even with Moorebank.
    Maldon to Dombarton looks like it is going ahead but it has been slower than the SSFL, due to gov’t indecision.
    The second Sydney airport won’t be needed.

  5. moonetau says:

    Found the answer to the OD of containers in case anyone interested

    New South Wales Import Export Container Mapping Study
    Repor Prepared for:
    Sea Freight Council of NSW
    February 2004

    More than half goes to western Sydney.

  6. John Robson says:

    Maldon-Dombarton is not delayed due to indecision, the feasibility study said it would be a big waste of money (at this time). The fact it is even proceeding to design is throwing cash away to appease local voters.

    Fix the freight problems between Port Botany and the terminals, rather than building a new container port, new railway line and (most likely) some new terminals for the Maldon-Dombarton line. Especially since after all that is built, shipping companies would still prefer to come to Botany.

  7. caroline says:

    Does anyone know how frequently freight trains pass marrickville station? How early/late do they run? Is there a timetable I could refer to?

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