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Technology available to improve safety on the South Coast line

Release Date: 15/03/2017

Illawarra First has commissioned directed research to identify key rail infrastructure/measures to improve rail freight and commuter movements between Wollongong and Sydney.

Illawarra Business Chamber Executive Director, Chris Lamont, said that the current 90 minute travel time for commuters between Wollongong and Sydney Central during weekday peaks can and must be addressed by the NSW Government.

“The incident with the train derailment at Port Kembla yesterday highlights the difficulties commuters face and the importance of safety improvements on the South Coast Line,” said Chris Lamont.

Rail research commissioned by Illawarra First has identified digital signalling technology would allow trains to run faster and closer together while improving safety on the existing track,” said Chris Lamont.

“Investment in a European Train Control System Level 2 (ETCS2) on the South Coast Line could achieve a reduction in travel time of up to 40 minutes on the return trip from Wollongong to Sydney Central (on a direct service). Illawarra residents deserve an equivalent level of rail service to that provided to Sydney residents,” said Chris Lamont.

The Queensland Government is introducing the ETCS2 system on parts of Brisbane’s rail network with the project due to be completed by 2021. This will be the first time the system will be adopted in Australia. The ETCS technology is well proven ‘in-cab’ technology already in operation in 37 other rails systems around the globe including in Europe, US, India and South East Asia.

“In addition to allowing trains to travel closer together it provides an added level of safety including an automatic braking system,” said Chris Lamont.

“The Australasian Railway Association has also highlighted the benefits of such systems which include reduced transit times, improved reliability, reduced maintenance and train crew costs, improved service availability, real time monitoring of train positions and speed and potential fuel savings of between 5 and 10 percent,” said Chris Lamont.

Illawarra First believes the NSW Government should trial the introduction of the ETCS2 on the South Coast Line between Wollongong and Sydney Central stations.

The research commissioned by Illawarra First is also re-examining the potential value and benefits of the construction of the Maldon-Dombarton rail line, which is now referred to as the South West Illawarra Rail Line (SWIRL).

Media Contact: Katherine Baker 0417 135 858

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