21 MAR 2014 - Industry given opportunity to reopen Cowra Lines

Support for the proposed reopening of the Blayney-Demondrille rail line by Minister for Roads and Ports, Duncan Gay has been welcomed by Cowra Mayor, Councillor Bill West.

Mr Gay recently announced that the NSW Government will soon be calling for tenders from the private sector to reopen the "Cowra Lines" — the 200 kilometres of non-operational track between Blayney and Harden and Koorawatha and Greenethorpe.

"That the Minster has been supportive of the proposed reopening is good, that he is publicly urging all interested parties to get involved is great," Cr West said.

The Minister, when announcing the tender process, said that the aim is for the Cowra Lines to be run on a commercially-sustainable basis under a fixed-term licence.

Cr West acknowledges the Minister's support for the proposal, which he believes is a unique nation-building opportunity for the region and beyond.

"Not only would this proposal remove thousands of tonnes of trucks from our roads, it would also remove the increasing pressure on the Blue Mountains and Sydney rail network of large freight trains that are routed through the Sydney network from western NSW for Port Kembla and Port Botany," Cr West said.

"For these parties that may be interested in this proposal, now is the time to put your hand-up — projects of this magnitude and potential do not come along every year in our State.

"This is the ideal project for companies that currently freight large tonnages on our roads to get in on the ground floor," Cr West said.

Minister Gay said Transport for NSW's collaboration with local councils on the tender means that if re-opened, the Cowra Lines would be better connected with local roads and intermodal terminals, creating a more integrated freight transport network across the region.

The tender opens on 24 March 2014 with the deadline for responses 2pm on 25 July 2014. More information is available on the NSW eTendering website at tenders.nsw.gov.au.

Transport for NSW will also host a public briefing for prospective tenderers on 8 April in Cowra.