Councillors board rail corp train

COFFS councillors at their last meeting supported a motion by Cr Rodney Degens to ask the Australian Local Government Association to lobby the Federal Government over its under-investment in the national rail system, through the formation of a government authority for rail.

Cr Degens’ full recommendation was that the Australian Rail Track Corporation be reconstituted as a government authority by an Act of Parliament charged with the responsibility of getting more freight on to rail by lifting the average speed of intermodal trains to average 80km/h between terminals; speeding-up inter-city rail passenger trains plus assisting the re-establishment of local rail services with adequate funding.

The minutes of the April 8 meeting do not include the second part of Cr Degens’ recommendation, which he had intended to include.

Cr Degens said the ARTC was chartered to run at a profit, was mainly interested in freight and was hampered in its ability to build new tracks, whereas a rail authority similar to the Roads and Traffic Authority (RTA) would provide a better framework and have more power to re-align tracks.

An average speed of 80km/h agreed to by the Australian Transport Council in 1997 has not yet been achieved on the North South corridor.

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