WHY STOP?: The potential routes announced this week for the State Government's proposed high-speed rail network stop short at Port Macquarie.
WHY STOP?: The potential routes announced this week for the State Government's proposed high-speed rail network stop short at Port Macquarie. NSW Government

Coffs excluded from high-speed rail plan

THE potential routes announced this week for the State Government's proposed high-speed rail network could prove greatly beneficial to regional NSW, but it has come with a glaring omission - Coffs Harbour.

The vision for a fast rail network aims to improve connectivity between Sydney and the regions, with trains on the routes reaching speeds of at least 200km/h.

But the four potential routes under consideration stop shy at Port Macquarie as the northernmost point.

Martin Wells, president of the Coffs Harbour Chamber of Commerce, said he was disappointed to see the plans, adding it would compromise the chamber's vision for Coffs to become a regional international gateway.

 

THE potential routes announced this week for the State Government's proposed high-speed rail network could prove greatly beneficial to regional NSW.
THE potential routes announced this week for the State Government's proposed high-speed rail network could prove greatly beneficial to regional NSW. NSW Government

The chamber has been lobbying for an international airport for the area for years, and Mr Wells said the fast rail network would marry perfectly into the vision.

He said he has since written to both Andrew Fraser MP and Nationals pre-select candidate Gurmesh Singh to question why the decision was made to potentially terminate the service at Port Macquarie.

"It's part of that connectivity story the chamber's been lobbying for for many years," he said. "A fast rail network from Sydney would open up great opportunity for us as a region, while alleviating pressure on Sydney airport.

"But it's about the export opportunities for local agribusinesses. You have things like blueberries, macadamias and Norco trucking milk four or five hours to be shipped internationally.

"When it's only 150km extra of track, why wouldn't they connect the likes of Sydney to Coffs Harbour?"



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