Canberra Rail Freight Service to Start Again After 32 Years

Roads between Canberra and Port Botany in Sydney will be free of hundreds of B-double trucks thanks to an agreement between Access Recycling, the ACT Government and John Holland Rail.

In a privately funded project, Access Recycling has been granted rights to use the railway line and the old Kingston container terminal to establish an export railway freight service from Canberra.

Access Recycling Director, Adam Perry, said the new rail freight service would not only have environmental and road safety outcomes but will also increase employment in the local economy.

“We are committed to establishing a direct-to-market export operation for our recycling business in the Capital. Access Recycling has invested $3 million on metal processing and container loading equipment for our Fyshwick site.” Mr Perry said.

“Beginning on March 6, 2015, a single weekly train service will transport 50 shipping containers of processed recycled metal directly to Port Botany. This will remove five of our B-double trucks from our highways each day.

“The operation also eliminates the requirement for the steel to be processed in Sydney prior to exporting; instead the scrap metal will be processed at our Fyshwick site, employing local people to do so.

“At this stage we anticipate that this new operation will increase our direct and indirect full-time employees in the ACT from eight to more than fifteen. The new roles are for train operations, metal processing and packaging.  This, together with the higher value export income from the operations will be modest boost the local ACT economy.

“There are many other businesses in the ACT that move containers to and from Sydney but up until now the volumes hadn’t been sufficient to establish a viable rail freight service.  With Access Recycling running weekly trains to Port Botany we intend to offer other businesses use of the infrastructure. Indeed, there are other metal recyclers in the ACT we have been working with who will also capitalize on this and make our industry greener.

“We are excited about this project and the benefits are wide reaching but in particular; improving road safety by taking freight off the road and putting it onto rail.  Locals can also get involved too by bringing any scrap metal to our Fyshwick site for recycling and better still, we will pay you for it,”  As a recycling business we are always looking for better ways to improve our environment”. Mr Perry said.

ESPEE Railroad Services, the commercial arm of the Australian Railway Historical Society, will provide the train operating crews to Access Recycling.

ESPEE Railroad Services CEO, Alan Gardener, said his organisation has the capability, experience and skill to establish a regular freight service to and from Canberra and Port Botany.

“This is a great opportunity for ESPEE and we are looking forward to working with Access Recycling to foster greener transport options between Canberra and Sydney,” Mr Gardener said.

“We will also be contributing to the local economy through more jobs,” he said.

This project has also been endorsed by John Holland – Country Regional Network, which maintains and controls the railway line from Canberra to Goulburn for the New South Wales and ACT Governments. Access Recycling has been granted a licence to utilize the Kingston Rail Terminal by John Holland Rail.