Inland Rail: Forbes Council calls for rail crossing upgrade at Daroobalgie

UPGRADES: Forbes Shire Council is calling for the rail crossing on the northern bypass to be upgraded as part of the Inland Rail project.
UPGRADES: Forbes Shire Council is calling for the rail crossing on the northern bypass to be upgraded as part of the Inland Rail project.

An upgrade for the rail crossing at Daroobalgie was not in the scope of Inland Rail works presented to Forbes Shire Council's December meeting - and its General Manager Steve Loane expressed his disappointment.

"It was in December in this room, 2018, when the deputy prime minister promised us the signalling for that crossing," Mr Loane told project manager Melvyn Maylin when he provided an update to the council.

"I'm really disappointed that this hasn't been brought forward."

It's now three years since councillors moved to petition Australian Rail Track Corporation to upgrade the crossing on the Northern Heavy Vehicle Bypass, which simplifies the journey to the saleyards from the west of Forbes.

The crossing, just 300m off the Newell Highway on Daroobalgie Road, is the last piece in the bypass connecting Bogan Gate Road to the Newell Highway.

"This is a major impediment to our economic benefits of our area," Mr Loane told the Inland Rail team at the council meeting.

"It's imperative to be able to run double road trains across that loop when it's only another 2.5km to the saleyards, without them having to decouple to take the stock to the saleyards."

Following the meeting, Mr McCormack's office advised that the Forbes northern heavy vehicle bypass is being considered as part of the planning process by the Australian Rail and Track Corporation for the Inland Rail project.

"If applicable, the review will also determine, through a risk assessment, the type of controls to be applied at the level crossing," Mr McCormack said.

With Inland Rail representatives in the room, councillors also asked about the Newell Highway rail crossings in Forbes and to the north, and whether Inland Rail growth would cause increased disruptions to traffic.

Mr Loane said everyone in the room was supportive, "but our local issues need to be heard".

"I know it's low priority by your calculations but not for us as locals.

"It's a vital link between here and Parkes - and further north - and to slow the highway down is old technology, it really needs a better approach."

The team said the number of trains travelling through was estimated to double to 10 or 11 in the first years, and they are predicting gradual increase to 18 a day by 2040.

The Inland Rail team said that each would see the boom gates close for an average two-and-a-half minutes: some shorter and some longer than that.

"How many places, from Victoria to Queensland, does the highway close?" Cr Graeme Miller asked.

"There's going to be two between Forbes and Parkes."