SMEC Australia has been appointed to develop a concept design that will investigate options to reinstate the Blayney to Demondrille railway, part of a set of routes known collectively as the Cowra Lines.
Minister for regional transport and roads Paul Toole said the work would examine reinstatement costs and ongoing viability of the 179km line to deliver future freight opportunities.
“With the freight task growing, we know the Cowra Lines have potential to be a part of the NSW government’s plan for a strong regional rail network,” he said. “A feasibility study has shown this line has the potential to be economically viable when freight capacity on the Main West is constrained in the future and to build improved resilience into the rail network. This next piece of work will help us understand exactly what it will take to reinstate the corridor.”
Member for Cootamundra Steph Cooke said work on the concept design will start in June and be completed next year. “We know the community is passionate about the potential of the Cowra Lines. The concept design will include surveys to determine reconstruction costs, as well as assessments of level crossings, drainage, loops and sidings to confirm what infrastructure would be required to meet the needs of today’s freight trains,” she said.
“Some of the features of the line, like the heritage-listed Cowra Rail Bridge and Carcoar Tunnel, are more than 130 years old and will need special attention to ensure they are both strong enough and provide the clearances needed for freight operations into the future. Undertaking this high level design now, will speed up work on any future reactivation of the line.”