Western Australia’s regional rail freight network will receive a $200 million upgrade to help get grain to port more quickly.
Western Australia’s regional rail freight network will receive a $200 million upgrade, including the progressive reopening of one of the state's 'tier 3' rail lines.
The funding, which includes a $160 million investment from the federal government - originally announced in May last year - and $40 million from the state government, is part of the Agricultural Supply Chain Improvement program.
A total of $22 million has been allocated to four rail siding extensions for CBH grain bins at Moora, Brookton, Cranbrook and Broomehill, for which work is already underway.
Seven grain rail sidings projects have been given $46 million. The upgrades will help CBH Group load longer trains more quickly.
About $60 million will go towards upgrading the Midland Line, between Carnamah and Mingenew, allowing heavier trains and a 20 per cent increase in train loads.
The fourth project, allocated $72 million, is focused on the southern Wheatbelt and includes the progressive recommissioning of the Narrogin-Kulin rail line.
This was one of multiple 'tier 3' rail lines that closed in 2013 and 2014.
The closure of the tier 3 lines, extending more than 700 kilometres, was highly contentious as it forced more freight onto roads, adding to 'wear and tear' on regional roads and increasing community safety risks.
The first stage of this project will be a study to assess the most useful way to make this investment for the benefit of all potential freight users and the community.
As well as grain farmers, potential users include ASX-listed WA Kaolin, which is developing a mining project near Wickepin.
According to the state government, the upgrades will be complemented by at least $200 million of investment in rapid loading bins and elevators by CBH Group.
Transport Minister Rita Saffioti said the recent record harvest showed that continued investment in road and rail was needed.
“Improving the outloading capabilities of Western Australia’s grain supply chain is a major focus for CBH, and we are proud to invest alongside the government’s rail siding projects with rapid rail loading equipment to ensure longer trains can be loaded faster and get to port more efficiently," Mr Macnamara said.
The projects are to be completed by 2025.