Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC) has completed the A$1bn ($1.05bn) Southern Sydney Freight Line (SSFL), which is intended to speed up the movement of freight trains through Sydney.
The project involved the construction of a 31km dedicated freight line between Macarthur and Leightonfield in southern Sydney.
The new line provides a third track in the rail corridor, which will be used for freight services, allowing passenger and freight services to operate independently.
ARTC funded the SSFL scheme, of which the final stage of the project was delivered in partnership with Leighton Contractors.
Australian Infrastructure and Transport Minister Anthony Albanese said that for many years Sydney has been the single largest bottleneck on the Interstate Rail Network, with freight trains facing delays getting into and out of the city due to its limited track capacity and the priority given to passenger trains, particularly during peak periods.
"This new dedicated line between Macarthur and Chullora will go a long way to alleviating this handbrake on productivity," Albanese said.
"Importantly, this new line in Sydney’s south complements the work now underway upgrading the rail corridor through the city’s northern suburbs to Newcastle, as well as the line to Port Botany. It will also support the development of the new intermodal proposed to be built at Moorebank," Albanese added.
The SSFL is part of the Australian Government’s capital investment programme on its freight network, which will take about a million trucks off the country’s highways every year.
ARTC CEO John Fullerton said the SSFL will provide an efficient rail network and support the growing freight task between Brisbane and Melbourne.
"The SSFL is the single biggest project ARTC has ever delivered and is part of our record $3 billion capital works program which is making the Melbourne to Brisbane freight route an even more attractive option for Australian businesses," Fullerton said.
The Australian Government is currently rebuilding a third of the 10,000km Interstate Rail Freight Network to improve reliability and transit times for freight transport.