Over the past two years, freight rail movements increased a record 18% to 853.5 million tonnes per annum and passenger trips grew to 769.9 million annual journeys, or more than 6% according to the 2010 Rail Industry Report released by the Australasian Railway Association (ARA) today.
From 2007/08 to 2009/10, rail freight moved an additional 130 million tonnes, equal to an average increase of more than 356,000 tonnes per day. During the same time, rail passenger journeys increased by 43.5 million passenger journeys, an average of more than 120,000 passengers daily.
ARA CEO, Bryan Nye says the significant growth in passenger and freight volumes the report reveals reinforces the need for greater rail infrastructure investment in Australia.
“Every one million tonnes of rail freight growth requires one new train set, more tracks, more engineers and more technicians. It is the same on the passenger network. While every jurisdiction is purchasing new rolling stock, these will only meet today’s increase in capacity.
Much more will be needed in future especially if we are going to replace the 30 year old locomotives on the tracks today,” he said.
The ARA Industry report provides vital data for policy makers on passenger and freight rail movements in Australia.
“The passenger patronage and rail freight tonnage growth is a clear reminder to policy makers that future planning and investment in rail infrastructure is essential if we are to cope with the continued demand for rail,” said Mr Nye.
Traditionally there has been a significant issue with attaining transport data in Australia. The lack of data has severely undermined transport policy and planning.
“The rail industry has taken it upon itself to organise and collate fundamental data for the transport policy and planning process, providing a reliable source of rail data in Australia,” continued Mr Nye.
The rail industry seeks an equally robust set of publicly available road data figures to ensure future transport planning is based on quality information and sound analysis.
The 2010 Rail Industry Report is the seventh annual report of its kind commissioned by the ARA.