The South Coast line may miss out on a share of $20 million in federal funding for faster rail links.
The federal government this week announced the Faster Rail project, that comes with $20 million in funding.
It formed part of its “passenger rail agenda”, that also included the $10 billion National Rail Program.
The Faster Rail prospectus singled out the slow rail connection between Wollongong to Sydney, mentioning it several times.
However, it is unclear as to whether the NSW government planned on submitting a proposal to improve the South Coast line by the October 13 deadline.
Transport for NSW was asked if it would submit a proposal to get some of the $20 million to improve the rail line between Wollongong and Sydney.
That question went unanswered.
“Transport for NSW welcomes the Federal Government funding initiative to support the development of business cases for faster rail connections between our cities and regional areas,” a Transport for NSW spokesman said.
Transport for NSW will update its business case for the Maldon to Dombarton line when freight capacity on the Illawarra line is unable to meet forecast demand.
Illawarra Business Chamber Executive Director Chris Lamont suggested the government should pursue this as a funding source for the South West Illawarra Rail Link (SWIRL), an upgraded version of the Maldon-Dombarton rail line.
However, Transport for NSW said freight lines were not part of this project.
“The funding offered through the recently announced Faster Rail prospectus is for the further investigation of faster rail links and not a way to fund the proposed Maldon to Dombarton line, because the prospectus says that ‘freight rail systems and lines are out of scope in this faster rail process’,” the Transport for NSW spokesman said.
“Transport for NSW continues to monitor freight demand and capacity issues across the network.
“Transport for NSW will update its business case for the Maldon to Dombarton line when freight capacity on the Illawarra line is unable to meet forecast demand.”
The spokesman also said Transport for NSW was in the process of developing the Future Transport Strategy, which is a “40-year vision for the NSW transport system”.