Freight rail: the untapped key to resolving passenger rail demand?

Sydney is experiencing record-levels of population growth and increasing densification. With this, the passenger rail network is facing significant strain in response to demand, and more services are being added to the system. At the same time, freight volumes through Port Botany continue to increase at a rapid pace. This creates issues for the shared rail network, where passenger and freight rail utilise the same timetabled paths, which usually results in passenger services being given priority. As a result of these competing demands, the NSW Government and Transport for NSW are planning, designing and constructing new urban passenger rail systems such as Sydney Metro, as well as implementing a range of infrastructure and technology improvements to increase the passenger capacity of the existing Sydney Trains network. While this is a logical response to catering for the demand, this paper explores the idea that another solution could potentially be found in investing in freight rail projects as well. A common phrase in the rail industry is ‘freight is great, but freight can wait’, however it’s time to start thinking as freight as part of the solution. Freight projects are often difficult to justify in pure economic terms, and to the community if assessed in isolation, despite the significant, indirect network-wide passenger benefits they can provide. A better future can be realised by designing for a holistic and integrated rail network, considering freight rail projects with complementary passenger rail improvements and developing combined ‘network capacity enhancement’ projects in program and business case development.

Media Info

  • Pagination: 15p. ; PDF
  • Monograph Title: AusRAIL 2018, Rail for a better future, 27-28 November 2018, Canberra, Australian Capital Territory

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01708039
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Source Agency: ARRB
  • Files: ATRI
  • Created Date: Jun 18 2019 4:58PM