Cowra Lines Moves to Concept Design Phase

Cowra Lines

media release, NSW Government, rail, regional nsw,


Cowra Lines Moves to Concept Design Phase

The Cowra Lines form part of the NSW Country Regional Network (CRN) that are managed by
John Holland Rail (JHR). The Cowra Lines consist of approximately 310km of rail networks including the Blayney to Demondrille (179km), Koorawatha to Grenfell and Cowra to Eugowra lines.

Due to low traffic, high maintenance costs and safety concerns, operations of the Cowra Lines were completely suspended in 2009. However, the reactivation of Cowra Lines is on the way now that SMEC Australia Pty Ltd has been appointed to develop a concept design that will investigate options to reinstate the Blayney to Demondrille rail line. The work would examine reinstatement costs and the ongoing viability of the 179-kilometre line to deliver future freight opportunities. Work on the concept design will start in June 2021 and is expected to be completed next year.

SMEC is a leading engineering consultancy that supports nation-building infrastructure across Australia, including the construction of the Snowy Hydro Scheme, the building of the Sydney Metro Northwest and currently supporting the Inland Rail project.“With the freight task growing, we know the Cowra Lines have potential to be a part of the NSW Government’s plan for a strong regional rail network,” Mr Toole said.

“A feasibility study has shown this line has the potential to be economically viable when freight capacity on the Main West is constrained in the future and to build improved resilience into the rail network. This next piece of work will help us understand exactly what it will take to reinstate the corridor.”

The concept design will include surveys to determine reconstruction costs, as well as assessments of level crossings, drainage, loops and sidings to confirm what infrastructure would be required to meet the needs of today’s freight trains.

Some features of the line, like the heritage-listed Cowra Rail Bridge and Carcoar Tunnel, are more than 130-years-old and will need special attention to ensure they are both strong enough and provide the clearances needed for freight operations into the future.

Read the Cowra Line feasibility study here. 


Friday 28th May 2021 – Media Release

Read the Media Release here.

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