In the state’s hand

The line’s been checked and the report’s been written and handed over, and now the fate of the Blayney–Demondrille rail line is in the hands of the NSW state government.

Closed for just over 10 years, the line served the Blayney, Cowra and Young area and provided a vital connection between the main Western and Southern Lines and rail access from the Central West to Sydney, Newcastle and Port Kembla.

Blayney mayor Scott Ferguson is hopeful that the resurgence of rail through both public and private investments will see the project get the go-ahead, sooner rather than later.

“The Inland Rail project has certainly changed their thinking on rail infrastructure in regional areas, and also from Port Kembla there is quite a strong private advocacy group that own the port facilities and are spending a lot of money upgrading those,” he said.

Cr Ferguson believes that the growth in thinking of rail as a genuine option will see the project being seen as a part of the whole, not just as an independent line.

“The freight on that line would be used more as a state linkage to access Port Kembla rather than the Sydney line so we’ll hopefully see a lot of grain heading down that way,” he said.

“We’re a little bit optimistic that the state government will discover a decent business case and will find the money to get the line back up.”

The NSW Labor Party has backed the plan to re-open the line, saying money allocated to the rail project would be well-spent, and Cr Ferguson is hoping that the state government will make a definitive announcement before the next election.

“The language coming out of the premier and cabinet now is amazing about regional NSW getting its fair share, and because of the electorates that the line is running through, it wouldn’t really be seen as pork-barrelling,” he said.