Governments often adopt policies aimed at reducing the proportion of freight on roads and increasing the proportion on rail. The policies rarely succeed, and many lines remain under-utilised or not used at all. Often the road share just keeps growing and the road transport industry strains to meet the demand. Such is the case in eastern Australia, despite appeals from coastal and inland towns and cities suffering from congestion, environmental, health and safety issues and growing road capital and maintenance costs. Regional areas suffer from high freight costs, constraining economic development. Councils are expected to take up the burden of increased road maintenance.
The 'Regional Rail Revival' seminar aimed to provide information and promote discussion about what freight railways can offer regional areas and how railways interstate and overseas have been revived for national as well as local benefit.
Following an initiative taken by five local government councils, the railway line south from Blayney to Demondrille and a small branch line, known as 'The Cowra Lines', are being considered by the New South Wales Government for revival.
2015 For updates on the Blayney-Demondrille railway see The Lachlan Regional Transport Committee http://www.lrtc.org.au/projects/blayney-demondrille-line.
Mr Ed Zsombor, Director of Rail Services, Province of Saskatchewan, Canada Presentation PDF Listen to his presentation Audio MP3
Mr Bryan Nye, CEO Australasian Railway Association Presentation PDF Listen to his presentation Audio MP3
Cr Bill West, Mayor of Cowra Shire – update on Blayney-Demondrille revival process Listen to his presentation Audio MP3
Mr Dom Figliomeni CEO Port Kembla Port Corporation. Listen to his presentation Audio MP3
Mr Lawrance Ryan Presentation on the history of the Blayney-Demondrille line Presentation PDF
Experience gained from this initiative, in the light of knowledge about regional railways and their potential as revealed elsewhere, is illuminating ways towards more efficient regional transport. The cooperative process undertaken with respect to 'The Cowra Lines', involving State and local government, has revealed a potentially viable railway worthy of revival. It has also demonstrated the potential of regional railways and laid the ground for partnerships between industry and all levels of government. The seminar offered an update on this process and discussed how the Blayney-Demondrille model can be applied in different situations.
Participants included industry representatives, local, state and federal government representatives, researchers and interested community members. 105 people attended the seminar. Some people travelled from Victoria and Queensland to attend.
Seminar speakers included Mr Ed Zsombor, Director Rail Services, Saskatchewan, Canada; Mr Dom Figliomeni CEO Port Kembla Port Corporation; Mr Bryan Nye, CEO Australasian Railway Association; Mr Frank Lander, Senior Policy Officer, Department of Transport Victoria; the mayors of Cowra and Blayney Shires; ILWS Adjunct Associate Professor Ian Gray and Cowra-based railway journalist and historian Mr Lawrance Ryan. The seminar was chaired by Mr Maurice Simpson, President of the Lachlan Regional Transport Committee.
0930 LRTC President Mo Simpson introduction and housekeeping including workshop etc
0935 Cr Scott Ferguson, Mayor of Blayney Shire – welcome to Blayney and acknowledgement of country
0940 Assoc Prof Ian Gray, welcome from CSU and introduction to the background paper
0955 Questions for Ian
1000 Cr Bill West, Mayor of Cowra Shire – update on the Cowra Lines revival process
1010 Ed Zsombor, Director Rail Services, Saskatchewan, Canada
1035 Questions for Ed
1100 Mo Simpson announces MoU with Wollongong and nearby councils
1110 Dom Figliomeni CEO Port Kembla Port Corporation
1125 Questions for Dom
1130 Bryan Nye, CEO Australasian Railway Association
1155 Questions for Bryan
1200 Frank Lander, Senior Policy Officer, Department of Transport Victoria
1225 Questions for Frank
1230 Close seminar – Mo Simpson
Working group moves to the Community Centre meeting room adjacent
1330 Presentation on the history of the Blayney-Demondrille line by Lawrance Ryan
1430 Briefing in Community Centre Hall
ILWS would like to thank the Lachlan Regional Transport Committee, Blayney Shire, and the Shires of Cowra, Weddin, Young and Harden for working with us to make the seminar and workshop a success