The resumption of rail freight operations to West and South West Queensland that directly service domestic transfer hubs and export or import facilities at Toowoomba and Brisbane could be realised in the coming year, the Darling Downs and South West Queensland Council of Mayors heard last week in Toowoomba.

“The updates are a welcome and positive sign that private firms are prepared to come to the market to pitch for business where they see opportunities in the long term,” Toowoomba Region Mayor Paul Antonio said. “Many existing rail lines, especially those in the western and south western parts of the state, have been neglected for decades. This has led to a reduction in service for these productive areas and an increased reliance on road transport, which has placed added pressure on our roads. The Mayors’ collective will and vision is to see a truly integrated rail network delivering produce to the Port of Brisbane, Brisbane Airport and other distribution facilities around the newly named Toowoomba Trade Gateway (formerly the Toowoomba Enterprise Hub), including Toowoomba Wellcamp Airport and Interlink SQ at Charlton.” Antonio said, “producers and business operators as far west as Quilpie and Thargomindah and all points in between are eyeing a future where rail could unlock new freight routes and a host of untapped markets. Road transport will remain a key part in efficient freight movements, particularly given the move to greater use of container loads for many commodities.” Antonio added that “as a group representing around a quarter of Queensland, we wield far greater influence and stand a better chance of achieving results by working together for our mutual benefit.”

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