Minister for Roads and Ports Duncan Gay today called for registrations of interest from the private sector to restore, operate and maintain 200 kilometres of rail line known as the ‘The Cowra Lines’.
Gay said there is widespread community support to reopen the disused rail line between Blayney and Demondrille.
The line was closed in 2007 due to high operating costs and low freight volumes.
Gay said the rail line was important in ensuring economic growth adding that council involvement will be essential to make sure the local road network connects efficiently to intermodal terminals located on existing lines, so regional businesses and primary producers can more efficiently move goods to market.
"The Cowra Lines project is an important and innovative pilot that could help pave the way for other parts of the state’s rail and road freight and transport network," Gay said.
Transport for NSW is calling for Registrations of Interest from suitably qualified parties to restore, maintain and operate the railway lanes from Blayney to Demondrille as well as between Koorawatha to Greenthorpe on a commercially sustainable basis under a fixed term licence.
This follows a Memorandum of Understanding between the NSW Government and the Blayney, Cowra, Harden, Weddin and Young Shire Councils signed in July 2013 to investigate how a regulatory and operating model for the lines could be improved.
The Nationals Member for Burrinjuck, Katrina Hodgkinson, welcomed the initiative to reopen the rail line.
“The reopening of this line will significantly benefit grain farmers and councils allowing the transport of the grain harvest by rail, reducing heavy vehicle traffic on local roads and also boosting tourism opportunities in this region,” she said.