Minister acknowledges rail issue

ROADS and Ports Minister Duncan Gay has acknowledged the Adamstown railway bottleneck is a problem in need of an urgent solution.

But Mr Gay has given no indication of how long motorists would have to wait for a solution. His comments followed a meeting on Wednesday with Newcastle and Charlestown MPs Tim Owen and Andrew Cornwell to discuss growing concern about the crossing.

The Newcastle Herald reported earlier this week that hauling coal from the new Cobbora coalmine at Mudgee to the Eraring and Vales Point power stations would add about 40 minutes a day to motorists' delays. This would take the gate closures to eight hours a day or more.

The estimates are based on a survey of trains travelling through the level crossing in March.

Newcastle MP Tim Owen said Mr Gay appreciated the urgency of the situation, and he would carefully consider it with the transport minister.

A spokeswoman for Mr Gay said he had made a commitment to take the issue further.

Roads and Maritime Services has also begun a feasibility assessment for an information system to advise motorists of impending freight train closures at the level crossing.

The Draft NSW Long-Term Transport Master Plan includes the Fassifern to Hexham rail link as a long-term project, that would remove freight trains entirely.

The plan also identifies replacing the crossing with a grade separation, or flying junction, as an option to increase the capacity of the Northern Sydney Freight Corridor.

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