Transport for New South Wales (TfNSW) has appointed SMEC to develop the concept design for the Blayney to Demondrille rail section of the historic Cowra Lines. This project will provide a significant step towards the reinstatement of the Cowra Lines to support future growth of Australia’s rail freight network.

The Blayney to Demondrille section commenced construction in 1881 and includes several rail bridges and assets over 130-years old, including the heritage-listed Cowra Bridge and Carcoar Tunnel. When the line was previously in service it was predominantly used to carry grain and produce and a route to bypass the Blue Mountains.

SMEC Project Manager, Ben Morris is excited to be contributing to this significant project, “A key aspect of the project delivery will be a complete asset data collection, led by our asset team. All the track components, ballast, formation, culverts, bridges, level crossings etc will be documented and photographed into a digital database that will then be used for our design processes, but also provide a legacy which will be carried through into the next project lifecycles,” said Ben.

By providing an in-depth understanding of the existing assets, the concept design will inform discussions about the future of this section and the investment required to reinstate the Cowra Line.

In the project announcement, Minister for Regional Transport and Roads Paul Toole said the work would examine reinstatement costs and ongoing viability of the 179-kilometre line to deliver future freight opportunities.

“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.

SMEC are looking forward to working with TfNSW and the New South Wales Country Regional Network asset managers John Holland on this important project for regional growth and resilience.