Joint $200m investment to fund more freight rail infrastructure in WA

Monica Gameng   |   May 11, 2022
Rail tracks (cr: Pixabay - OtoZapletal)

More freight infrastructure will be delivered at Western Australia’s key agricultural areas with a $200 million joint funding for the first package of the Agricultural Supply Chain Improvement (ASCI) program. 

This funding commitment will ensure that freight infrastructure can keep up with the growing demand in the agricultural sector. 

“The McGowan Government is committed to improving regional freight infrastructure. 

“We are already spending a record amount on regional roads and we are now able to prioritise further investment on the regional freight rail network. 

“This $200 million will ensure our regional freight network continues to keep up with demand now and into the future,” Transport Minister Rita Saffioti said. 

Four projects will be funded under the first ASCI package to help local grain growers as well as other primary producers in transporting their product to market within Australia and around the world. 

The significant investment will be allocated to four project areas, including: 

  • $22 million for the four rail siding extensions for CBH grain bins at Moora, Brookton, Cranbrook and Broomehill, complementing significant CBH investment in rail loading facilities – works are now underway 
  • $46 million for seven additional grain rail siding upgrades at Avon, Kellerberrin, Dowerin, Konnongorring, Ballidu, Mingenew and Perenjori North, which will help CBH load longer trains much more quickly 
  • $60 million for Midland Line Main Line upgrading from 16 Tonne Axle Loading (TAL) to 19 TAL between Carnamah and Mingenew, allowing heavier trains and a 20 per cent increase in train loads. With around 400,000 tonnes of grain per year carried on this section, the upgrade will provide operational improvements and freight cost savings for all grain growers delivering to bins on selected line sections 
  • $72 million for the Southern Wheatbelt region towards the progressive recommissioning of the Narrogin-Kulin rail line and associated works to service grain and other potential customers in the Narrogin-Wickepin area via a Tier 3 line. The Narrogin-Kulin line was closed in 2013. The first stage of this project will be a study to assess the most useful way to make this investment for the benefit of all potential freight users and the community 

These four projects have been determined in consultation with CBH, rail network manager Arc Infrastructure as well as grower groups and local government. 

In addition, the siding upgrades will be complemented by approximately $200 million in investments in rapid loading bins and elevators by CBH. 

“The recent record harvest of 24 million tonnes shows that we need to continue to invest in road and rail to provide and increasingly efficient transport network. 

“The ASCI rail project funding, closely aligned with CBH’s train loading investments, will deliver freight cost savings and grain price benefits each year to grain growers throughout the agricultural region,” Minister Saffioti said. 

For both CBH and the grain growing industry, these projects will further aid in efforts to move grain rapidly to port after harvest, capitalising on strong international demand and high prices. Being able to load longer trains faster at strategically located CBH bins will also bring substantial financial returns to growers in the region. 

The State’s new Kaolin clay mine – located near Wickepin – will also benefit from a potential rail freight service as the mine’s export production increases in the coming years. 

With funding now secured, planning and design can now begin, and the projects completed by 2025. 

The Western Australian and Australian Governments are jointly delivering $187.5 million in funding for the Wheatbelt Secondary Freight Network program along with $36 million to commence the Mid-West and Great Southern Secondary Freight Network programs that will improve export connections across the agricultural regions. 

Source: Government of Western Australia – Media Statements; Railway Technology; Supply Chain Channel; ABC News 

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Monica Gameng
As Felix's Marketing Assistant since 2015, Monica is responsible for researching and sharing new and progressing projects within the construction and mining sectors in Australia. It's no surprise that Monica has her finger on the pulse of Australian major projects given she has produced more than 1,000 posts. She truly is an industry expert.
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