Australia’s New South Wales (NSW) Government has approved A$28m ($20.6m) in funding for major upgrade works of the Tamworth Intermodal Rail Line.

The financing will help in restoring a section of a non-operational railway line, connect Tamworth to the port, and support the development of an intermodal rail facility in Westdale.

Once complete, the project will facilitate regional freight movement and create hundreds of jobs.

NSW Deputy Premier John Barilaro said: “This significant investment is key to the development of the new intermodal rail hub that will better connect northern NSW’s producers and businesses to the world.

“This funding will restore and raise five kilometres of track on the West Tamworth to Barraba line and install new level crossings to activate rail freight access to Tamworth’s new regional freight terminal.

“When complete, a functioning intermodal rail hub and freight terminal in Tamworth will create a direct rail route to vessels docked at Port Botany, saving businesses significant freight costs.”

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The move comes as the NSW government has increased efforts to strengthen the state’s rail freight network to boost capacity and meet future freight demand.

Member for Tamworth Kevin Anderson said: “In 2016, 482Mt of freight was moved in NSW and with that volume expected to increase to 618Mt by 2036, this project is one of the big picture infrastructure investments delivered by the NSW government to help Tamworth and regional NSW’s industry succeed.”

The Australasian Railway Association (ARA) also welcomed the federal funding.

Last month, the NSW government approved two freight rail projects to facilitate cargo movement.