The NSW Government have kept the Maldon-Dombarton Rail Link Final Business Case, secret for over four years.
We've finally been able to release it.
This report is a damning assessment of the region's current infrastructure capability, and makes clear that freight train paths on the Illawarra Line will be cut dramatically from 60 paths per day to just 8 paths per day, and could confine freight operations to "night time only" by 2031.
The Business Case Report warns that unless construction of the Maldon-Dombarton Rail Link starts soon, that current available infrastructure will no longer be able to provide secure train paths to the port and Illawarra in as little as a decade.
The business case specifically warns that the "consequences of deferral" of the completion of the Maldon-Dombarton rail project include:
- Lack of capacity on the Illawarra Line due to deployment of Sydney Rail Futures, which prioritises passenger services and converting the Hurstville Line to Rapid Transit;
- Congestion on the existing Unanderra-Coniston Junction;
- Lack of capacity for passenger services;
- Increasing construction costs;
- A "less viable" and "more environmentally sensitive" existing corridor, and;
- Risk of existing assets, such as bridges, cuttings, embankments and civil structures, becoming "dilapidated".
The business case report estimates the cost of constructing the Maldon-Dombarton Rail Link at $701 million with an additional $105 million required to upgrade the existing Unanderra-Coniston Junction, which has been identified as a "key pinch point" for rail operations in the region.
Under each scenario considered in the business case, the economic assessment had a benefit-cost ratio greater than 1 - signalling a positive economic benefit from the project.
The report indicates that construction of the Maldon-Dombarton Rail Link will take five years to complete.