The plan: GrainCorp project manager Dale Atkinson with site managers Steve Cunningham and Mick Ford at the existing rail siting which will be replaced with a level track as well as a track on each side, allowing for 48 carriages to be loaded at the Old Turrawan Road facility.
A major rail development that is expected to slash the number of times the Newell Hwy level crossing is blocked during harvest season - as well as reduce train movements past Narrabri West Public School - has been given the go-ahead, but not exactly as expected.
GrainCorp applied to Narrabri Shire Council to convert its existing siding at the Old Turrawan Rd facility into three new ones. This would mean a whole train could be stored on site – the sidings would accommodate 16 carriages each – substantially reducing the need to use the Narrabri West rail yard to shunt carriages back and forth from the site.
The grain company said this would cut its costs and lead to a more efficient service for its customers as shunting times would be cut from 54 minutes to 18 minutes, while also being better for road and school users. It would eliminate seven of the eight trips past the school each time a train is loaded. It would also slash the number of times the Newell Hwy crossing is blocked from 10 to two.
However the $1.2 million proposal would mean the Fraser St crossing would be blocked twice, for an estimated three minutes, each time a grain train used the site. Under the present scheme the Fraser St crossing is not blocked at all by the shunting process.
See the Thursday October 8 edition of The Courier for the full story or subscribe to The Courier's online edition by clicking HERE.