INTRO: New lines planned, proposed or
under construction in Australia
n New South Wales
Sydney - Canberra Very High Speed Train: bids sought from private sector with contract due to be announced by June 15.
Jerrys Plain - Mt Thorley: NSW Rail Access Corp signed agreement in September 1997 for Jerrys Plain Terminal Pty Ltd to fund construction by 1999 of 16 km branch from Hunter Valley line to haul 3 million tonnes of coal a year.
Sydney airport line: New Southern Railway 10 km double track loop under construction by Transfield-Bouygues consortium at cost of A$600m. The line will be integrated with the Sydney suburban network.
Sydney Olympic Park branch: link to Homebush Bay for 2000 Olympics nearing completion.
Sydney suburban area: Eastern Suburbs Railway 3 km underground extension from Bondi Junction to Bondi Beach planned; preferred bidder is Lend Lease Infrastructure and Macquarie Bank. Parramatta - Epping - Chatswood orbital route to start ’before March 1999’. Long term plans include lines to the northern beaches, the northwest, south and southwest.
Sydney LRT: extension of existing route from Pyrmont to Lilyfield and a city centre loop from Central to Circular Quay planned.
Surat basin coal line: proposals have been sought from the private sector as part of Surat basin development project where deposits include 4·1 billion tonnes of thermal coal; likely route for line is Moura to Wondoan. Around 35 km of line would need to be upgraded south from Moura and 170 km of new line built. QR would design the route to carry 10 million tonnes a year using 120 wagon trains hauled by four or five diesel locos.
Gold Coast line: Helensvale - Nerang extension opened on December 16. Nerang - Robina opening planned for mid-1998.
Brisbane airport line: 9 km single track electrified branch planned with Airtrans as developer under a 35-year BOT deal.
Line to Caloundra and Maroochydore: 40 km link to these two resorts north of Brisbane being studied by Ove Arup & Partners.
Brisbane light rail: plans announced for 15 km line from the Royal Brisbane hospital to the university at Santa Lucia.
n Western Australia
Geraldton - Tallerang Peak - Weld Range: planned 350 km iron ore railway serving west coast steel mill development; Leighton Holdings chosen as preferred BOT concessionaire.
Alice - Darwin: rival routes from Alice Springs and 4000 km so-called ’Steel Mississippi’ from Melbourne via Brisbane and Mount Isa being promoted by private sector groups.