Jul 25, 2013

Epping to Thornleigh third track gets the go-ahead

Planning approval has been granted for the Epping to Thornleigh Third Track Project, the biggest of the four projects that form the $1.1 billion Northern Sydney Freight Corridor Program.

This paves the way for major construction work to begin on six kilometres of new track between Epping and Thornleigh, a new rail bridge over the M2 at Epping and an upgrade of Cheltenham and Pennant Hills train stations.

The new track will separate slower moving freight trains from CityRail passenger services along the steep incline north of Epping, removing a major bottleneck on the Interstate Rail Freight Network through Sydney and providing additional capacity for northbound interstate freight trains.

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure and Transport Anthony Albanese and NSW Minister for Roads and Ports Duncan Gay said construction will begin next month with the Leighton Abigroup Consortium awarded the contract to design and build the project.

“The project will help improve the reliability of passenger services, as well as reliability and transit times across the Interstate Rail Network, which is vital if we are to get more freight off our roads and onto the back of trains,” Mr Albanese said.

“This project will make Sydney work better. It’s good for the environment, the economy and the broader community, especially Sydney commuters.”

“The Epping to Thornleigh Third Track Project is part of the unprecedented $2 billion Federally-funded capital works program currently being rolled out across the Sydney basin which also includes the recently completed Southern Sydney Freight Line as well as the improvements we’re currently making to the line to Port Botany.”

The Epping to Thornleigh Third Track Project includes:

  • Construction of approximately six kilometres of new track on the western side of the existing track between Epping and Thornleigh;
  • An access upgrade to Cheltenham Station including construction of a new concourse (on the southern side of the existing buildings) to allow space for ticketing facilities, two new lifts and stairs to provide access to the existing platforms;
  • Extension of Pennant Hills Station concourse, including a new lift and stairs and modifications to Yarrara Road footpath and roadway
  • Construction of a new rail bridge crossing the M2 Motorway and Devlins Creek
  • Modifications to the pedestrian underpass and commuter car park at Beecroft Station; and

Mr Gay said major construction of the Epping to Thornleigh Third Track Project is subject to a number of conditions including guidelines for managing operational noise.

“Planning approval for the Epping to Thornleigh Third Track Project follows public exhibition of an Environmental Impact Statement late last year, extensive consultation and preparation of a report responding to the 950 community and stakeholder submissions received,” he said.

“We’ve listened to what the community has identified as their key concerns and will implement measures to address these.”

The Northern Sydney Freight Corridor Program is due for completion in 2016.

Within 15 years, it is expected the Program will reduce the growth of heavy vehicle movements between Sydney and Newcastle by around 200,000 trips each year.

This equates to a decrease of about 40 million litres of diesel usage and a reduction of 100,000 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions every year.

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Northern Sydney Freight Corridor

Map showing the Northern Sydney Freight Corridor from Sydney to Newcastle