PROGRESS is being made on a rail loop at Georges Plains, south of Bathurst, that aims to ensure passenger trains like the Central West XPT aren’t held up by freight carriages.
The rail loop near Bathurst is one of two being built by the NSW Government in a $21.5 million project announced in June.
The second rail loop will be south of Rydal Railway Station, between Bathurst and Lithgow.
The NSW Government says the connection point that will take trains off the Main Western Rail corridor onto the loop has already been completed at Georges Plains.
Member for Bathurst Paul Toole met with staff from John Holland Rail recently to see how the work was progressing.
“The two loops will ensure the nine million tonnes of freight transported annually along the western corridor moves more efficiently, reducing the cost of getting export freight to port and domestic freight to markets,” Mr Toole said.
The project involves building about 3.6 kilometres of new track and associated signalling infrastructure so trains of up to 1.5km in length can pass each other.
“The loops, about three kilometres south of Rydal Railway Station and immediately west of Georges Plains Railway Station, will mean more passenger trains like the Bathurst Bullet, the Central West XPT, as well as the Indian Pacific and Broken Hill Xplorer passenger services will no longer be held up by freight trains on the line,” Mr Toole said.
Without the Rydal passing loop, a train at Tarana has to wait for up to 30 minutes for an oncoming train from Wallerawang to clear the 27km single line section of track before being able to progress towards Lithgow and Sydney, according to the NSW Government.
Similarly, without the Georges Plains loop, a train at Newbridge has to wait for an oncoming train from Bathurst to clear the 33km single line section of track before being able to progress towards Bathurst and Sydney.
Work is expected to be completed in early 2019.