Southern Sydney Freight Line upgrade

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Sydney South to Moorebank rail freight capacity
Priority Initiative
Infrastructure Category
Proposed By
NSW Government
Longer term (10-15 years)
Sydney, NSW
Southern Sydney Freight Line upgrade


The forecast growth in interstate, intrastate and import/export freight, particularly with the development of the Moorebank Intermodal Terminal (MIT), will place significant pressure on Sydney’s rail freight network and the Southern Sydney Freight Line (SSFL) in particular.

The SSFL forms a key connection between the proposed MIT and other logistics hubs. Without additional capacity when the MIT is fully operational, the SSFL could become increasingly unreliable and face capacity constraints. The potential future development of the Western Sydney Freight Line, which is proposed to connect Sydney’s rail freight network at the SSFL, would further exacerbate capacity constraints on the SSFL.

In 2016–17, only 19% of freight handled at Port Botany was transported by rail, with the remainder transported by road. On average, Port Botany produces around 3,900 truck movements daily, contributing to significant congestion on key arterial roads including the M4 and M5, both of which were identified in the 2015 Australian Infrastructure Audit as highly-congested corridors.

In order to facilitate a shift from road to rail for containerised freight movement in Sydney (consistent with both New South Wales Government policies and findings from the Audit), further capacity and higher levels of service are required on Sydney’s freight rail network. Investment in the rail freight network will be crucial to ensuring the competitiveness of landside freight infrastructure such as the Moorebank Intermodal Precinct.

Proposed initiative

The SSFL is a 36 km single line from Macarthur to Sefton. The proposed initiative involves track duplications and additional passing loops on the line. The initiative aims to support the movement of freight by rail through the city, particularly between Port Botany and the Moorebank Intermodal Precinct and a future Western Sydney Freight Line. It forms part of a broader strategy designed to sustain and drive growth in rail mode share.

Next steps

Proponent to complete business case development (Stage 3 of Infrastructure Australia’s Assessment Framework).