Clash looms over railway freight loop

Aiden BoyhamSound Telegraph

Sparks are set to fly between the City of Rockingham and industry, with council expected to pass an item at Tuesday night’s council meeting directing the chief executive to engage with the State Government over abolishing the proposal to reinstate the Kwinana Loop Freight Railway.

The Kwinana Loop Railway reservation, which is close to Dixon Road and Lewington Street in Rockingham, has existed since 1963, with portions of the reservation yet to be built were removed from the Metropolitan Region Scheme in the 1990s and designated as “parkland buffer”.

With the current freight set-up approaching capacity, the Department of Transport has looked to reinstate the reserve, much to the chagrin of the City, which views the proposal as flawed because it brings freight close to homes as well as disregarding the planning framework with the Rockingham Industry Zone and the Rockingham Strategic Metropolitan Centre.

However, Kwinana Industries Council director Chris Oughton said the east-west loop railway was needed because the current set-up was a choke point that impeded the further development of local industry.

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“We are bottlenecked at capacity,” Mr Oughton said.

“The link would more than double rail capacity because it would be one way in and a different way out; whereas now it’s only one way in and the same way back out.”

Mr Oughton conceded that the link could be built further north if it did not go ahead on the existing reservation.

“We don’t mind where it is, provided that it is efficient from a transport and engineering perspective,” he said.

“If there’s a new port coming along, we are definitely going to need more rail capacity.”

Residents had previously criticised the DoT for its handling of the situation.

The decision from council on Tuesday will come after the planning and engineering services committee previously voted unanimously in favour (5-0) of recommending the council carry the motion.

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