Newcastle’s Ship to Rail Trumps Sydney Ports

Passenger train arrivals demonstrate unique direct-to-rail capability at Port of Newcastle

The first shipment of new passenger trains for the Sydney network arrived at Port of Newcastle this week, immediately taking advantage of the port’s direct connections to the New South Wales heavy freight and passenger rail networks.

Cargo ship AAL Hong Kong unloads two Waratah Series 2 trains for Sydney rail network.

General cargo vessel AAL Hong Kong arrived at the port on Sunday (5 July) carrying two Waratah Series 2 trains, each comprising eight carriages.

The trains were unloaded by crane and placed directly onto the rail before being towed by locomotive to Cardiff, where Downer will prepare them for introduction to the Sydney passenger network.

The delicate operation, jointly coordinated by Port of Newcastle, Newcastle Stevedores, Downer and Rhenus Logistics, will be replicated again over the next eight months as a further 15 trains – part of Transport NSW’s Sydney Growth Trains Project Stage 2 project – are shipped via Port of Newcastle.

Port of Newcastle CEO Craig Carmody said this was yet another example of the organisation providing the most efficient logistics solution, making good use of its superior rail infrastructure connections, and “the Hunter’s enviable rail network.”

Newcastle has a key advantage in being able to unload this type of rolling stock cargo directly onto rail lines immediately next to the ship, without the need for any unnecessary truck movements,” Mr Carmody said.

This type of port trade is consistent with our diversification strategy to broaden the mix of cargo handled and help ensure the Hunter Region’s long-term prosperity.”

In late 2018, Downer successfully completed the first stage of the project, delivering 24 new eight-car trains onto Sydney’s passenger rail network. The second stage involves a further 17 trains being added to the network by early 2021.

The SGT Project has built very successful and collaborative relationships in regional hubs like Newcastle, and the Port of Newcastle plays a key role in the SGT delivery program,” said Downer CEO, Grant Fenn.

Downer values its operations in regional cities and our role in supporting local economies.”

Leading global logistics company Rhenus Group coordinated the international ocean and rail freight, while Rhenus Australia worked closely with Downer when the vessel docked at Newcastle this week.

The complexity of handling such a project across a global pandemic challenges us, but our extensive expertise, strong relationships with partners and the culture within Rhenus ensures we are well placed to meet our customers’ expectations,” said Mark Harrison, Managing Director of Rhenus Logistics Oceania.

A spokesperson from Newcastle Stevedores said that the unique nature of West Basin, with direct under hook access to network connected rail, lends itself perfectly to rolling stock imports.

The next shipment of trains is due to dock in Port of Newcastle in early August.