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Fast rail network a potential for Port Macquarie

The NSW Government will start work on a fast rail network in the next term of government, linking regional centres to each other and Sydney, significantly slashing travel times across the State.

Four potential routes have already been identified and High Speed Rail expert Professor Andrew McNaughton has been appointed to confirm the most appropriate routes, train speeds and station locations.

Port Macquarie is included on the potential Northern Corridor route, with Taree, Newcastle the Central Coast and Sydney.

NSW Treasurer Dominic Perrottet visited Sovereign Hills on the day of the government’s announcement.

“We announced this morning, a fast rail going up north and hopefully at some stage coming towards Port Macquarie because we want to make sure that as NSW grows, it grows well,” Mr Perrottet said, while opening Sovereign Hills new $8m connector road Carlie Jane Drive.

Premier Gladys Berejiklian said a fast rail network will give people greater choice about where they live and how they commute to work.

“We know a fast rail network will transform NSW unlike any other project and we will make it a reality,” Ms Berejiklian said.

“We need to make it easier for people to consider moving to regional NSW and there is no better way to do that than building a fast rail network.”

Deputy Premier and Minister for Regional NSW John Barilaro said a $4.6 million allocation from Snowy Hydro Fund to develop fast rail will further boost confidence in regional NSW.

“We need to do the work to gauge what is possible and when,” Mr Barilaro said.

“Making regional travel faster, safer and easier brings huge economic potential to NSW regional towns and cities by making it easier to invest, do business, build a lifestyle and visit our regional towns.

“We are delivering better water security, digital connectivity and freight connections from the Snowy Hydro fund and now developing game changing infrastructure to access regional NSW.”

The advice from Professor McNaughton will pave the way for the NSW Government to take a new approach to the delivery of fast rail by identifying immediate improvements to existing rail corridors, while undertaking long-term visionary planning.

This approach allows for significant improvements in travel times for customers in the coming years, while at the same time delivering the building blocks for a high speed dedicated rail network.

“In the immediate future, faster rail would see upgrades along existing rail alignments and provide services of at least 200km/h, slashing travel times by one third,” Minister for Transport and Infrastructure Andrew Constance said.

“Ultimately, in the long term, high speed rail would see the development of new alignments and lines, providing speeds of over 250km/h, with examples overseas travelling up to 350km/h and higher – giving the potential to cut travel times by up to 75 per cent.”

The objectives of the Fast Rail Network Strategy will reflect A 20-Year Economic Vision for Regional NSW.

Thousands of people travel along passenger rail corridors in NSW every day, moving within regions, or between major regional centres and Sydney. Passengers travel for work, education, tourism, and to attend events or access services.

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