The national land freight task is expected to grow by 86% between 2011 and 2031. The 2015 Australian Infrastructure Audit found that freight rail will need to play a growing role in the movement of goods between ports and inland freight terminals. The role of freight rail will be particularly important for containerised freight, with demand for container terminal port infrastructure projected to grow faster than Gross Domestic Product.
Currently, only 19% (in 2016–17) of freight handled at Port Botany is transported by rail. If this trend continues, congestion on Sydney’s road network will increase as the number of trucks required to meet the growing freight task increases.
In order to facilitate a shift from road to rail for containerised freight movement in Sydney, additional capacity and higher levels of service are required on Sydney’s rail freight network.
Modelling by Infrastructure Australia in 2017 estimates the net cost of protecting and acquiring the Western Sydney Freight Line corridor and intermodal terminal as $3.6 billion (2016 prices) using a 7% real discount rate.
The Western Sydney Freight Line is a proposed dedicated rail freight line connecting Western Sydney to the Sydney Metropolitan Freight Network at the Southern Sydney Freight Line, with connections to intermodal terminals to service freight moving through Western Sydney from across New South Wales.
The core objective of the initiative is to reduce growth in truck movements on the Sydney road network and reduce delays to freight trains on the main Western Line, where passenger trains have priority. Preservation of the corridor is the first step to achieving this objective.
Construction of the Western Sydney Freight Line may also require capacity enhancement of the Southern Sydney Freight Line, which is separately listed on the Infrastructure Priority List.
Proponent to complete business case development (Stage 3 of Infrastructure Australia’s Assessment Framework).