AUSTRALIA’s New South Wales government has committed to two major rail projects in its 2023-24 state budget while scrapping a go-it-alone Fast Rail project planned to link Sydney, Newcastle and Wollongong.

An additional $A 1bn ($US 650m) will be invested in the Sydney Metro City and South West project and there will be six new stations on the Sydney Metro-Western Sydney Airport line, funded jointly with the federal government at a cost of $A 7.9bn.

The Parramatta Light Rail scheme will receive an extra $A 200m for stage two linking Parramatta to Sydney Olympic Park. Stage one connecting Westmead and Carlingford is expected to open in 2024.

Fast Rail was a flagship policy that former premier Ms Gladys Berejiklian announced in the lead up to the 2019 state election. The former coalition government launched the strategy saying it didn’t want to wait for a federal plan to materialise after numerous high-speed rail plans failed to get off the ground in recent decades.

The Australasian Railway Association (ARA) welcomed the NSW investment in the major rail projects as part of its $A 72.3bn commitment to transport infrastructure in the NSW budget.

ARA CEO Ms Caroline Wilkie says it is encouraging to see the NSW government continue its commitment to the vital Sydney Metro projects, maintaining funding allocations for Sydney Metro West, Sydney Metro to Western Sydney Airport and Sydney Metro City and Southwest.

Other rail projects to receive funding in the budget were:

  • $A 1.4bn for the delivery of a new regional train fleet to replace the existing ageing trains
  • an additional $A 300m to upgrade station car parks and make stations more accessible through the installation of new lifts, ramps and foot bridges, and
  • $A 95.9m for the Fixing Country Rail programme to increase capacity and improve reliability on the regional rail network and deliver a highly functional network for moving freight.

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