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Greens Support Northern Rail Freight Bypass

Media Release
Sarah Hanson-Young 30 Jul 2010

The Australian Greens support the campaign for the Northern Rail Freight Bypass, and immediate action to relieve pressure on communities in the Adelaide Hills, according to Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young.

Senator Hanson-Young says issues of noise, inconvenience and bushfire risk emphasise the need to re-route freight trains.

"When the Belair railway line was built in 1883, no one could have known we would have freight trains more than a kilometre long regularly using the track,'' Senator Hanson-Young said.

"These longer trains mean more "wheel squeal'' noise - up to 120 decibels, as loud as an aeroplane. With no noise restrictions, and no public authority monitoring noise levels, this is an increasing problem for residents and a growing environmental problem for the area.

"The Northern By-Pass would reduce this disruption for residents. But it's not just a noise issue.''

In 2009 a Federal Government consultant found the curves of the track at Belair were far tighter than industry standards - and the track is one of the steepest conventional rail tracks in the world.

"The layout of the track poses a potential safety risk during bushfire season through the possibility of a train breaking down and blocking two or even three major level crossings,'' Senator Hanson-Young said.

"It's clear that the Northern Rail Freight Bypass would be the best option for the community, the best option for the environment, and the best safeguard for the rail network. The Greens support the bypass, and both myself, Greens' lead Senate candidate Penny Wright, and Greens' candidates for House of Representatives' seats in affected areas will campaign for quick action to solve this issue.''

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