Local passenger rail service is put on track

COFFS Harbour residents could have a functional local passenger rail service as well as a train that delivers them to Sydney's Central in less than five hours.

Coffs Harbour City councillor Rodney Degens is lobbying for both projects and calling for political and community support.

At the Coffs Harbour City Council meeting on November 6, councillors heard an address by Richard Ennis on the topic of a future passenger rail service for the City of Coffs Harbour.

“Since the Rescue Rail forum, held in May, do-able options for making the idea of a local passenger rail service a reality have emerged and as Mr. Ennis has stated, it is now the time to act,” Cr Degens said.

“There have been significant change in community attitudes towards rail as recently as the last 12 months, as the realisation sets in that not only a safer Pacific Highway, but also a fully functional rail system is absolutely vital to our future needs, not only for transportation, but for housing, for health, for our environment and for industry.”

Cr Degens said he would be asking Coffs Harbour City Council to write to the State and Federal Ministers of Transport and would call for a committee to be set up to investigate a local passenger rail service for Coffs Harbour City as well as the North Coast rail line itself.

“The rail line between Sydney and Brisbane on which Coffs Harbour depends has been allowed fall behind international or any decent standard level of performance. The average speed of an XPT, the only passenger service available on the line from Coffs Harbour to Sydney is 60km/h.

“Future increases in the volume of freight must be able to be handled by rail to alleviate the pressures mounting onto our highways.”

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