Two Junee rail projects in the running for government funding

FREIGHT PLAN: BMD Constructions project manager Mark Gallagher with Wagga City Council project adviser James Bolton on one of the new roads at Bomen.
FREIGHT PLAN: BMD Constructions project manager Mark Gallagher with Wagga City Council project adviser James Bolton on one of the new roads at Bomen.

Wagga City Council is a step closer to obtaining millions of dollars in key government funding for the long-planned development of a Bomen freight hub.

The master rail siding of the Riverina Intermodal Freight and Logistics hub is one of 27 projects shortlisted from 49 initial applications for a slice of $150 million in funding from the State Government’s Fixing Country Rail program.

Upgrading of the Junee to Griffith rail line and and an extension of the Harefield siding are also on the shortlist.

Wagga City Council’s project adviser James Bolton said the amount being sought had not been finalised, but that it was “millions” of dollars.

“This is key to us. It is potentially the difference between it happening and not,” Mr Bolton said.

He hailed the shortlisting for funds as “a great milestone for us”.

“We are now working on the final submission for the NSW Government,” Mr Bolton said.

“There’s still some big commercial decisions to be made with various partners with council.

"There’s a variety of partners. There’s rail operators like Genesee & Wyoming. There’s also the product owners, but also another key partner in recent times is ARTC, which is the Rail Track Corporation, which runs the main line.”

Mr Bolton said council was continuing to work with Genesee & Wyoming Australia, the US-based rail giant with which it signed an initial agreement in 2017.

“We have been working with them throughout 2017, particularly in December, once we were shortlisted,” he said.

“The work with them is around getting an application to the State Government. It’s the next big step.

“We expect an announcement back from the State Government about May or June this year.”

Mr Bolton described the freight hub as as a “long-term" project.

“It’s in that planning phase. There’s still some very big decisions to be made by the council, but also by the NSW Government, the ARTC and all the other parties,” he said.

“If we are successful in the funding, in May or June we will be able to give a lot more detail on construction timeframes.

“If we are successful in the business case submission, it makes a huge difference in this thing becoming a reality.”