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Maldon - Dombarton Rail Link - Scoping and Development

Funding Program:Investment Road and Rail Program
Transport Mode:Rail
Expected Start/Finish:September 2012 - July 2014
Estimated Project Cost:$14,551,127
Australian Government Contribution:$14,551,127
Local Council/Shire:Wingecarribee Shire Council,Wollondilly Shire Council,Wollongong City Council

Project Description

The proposed Maldon to Dombarton Rail Link is a 35 kilometre single track rail line connecting from the main North South Rail Corridor at Maldon near Picton to Dombarton on the Moss Vale to Unanderra Line. The line would provide a more direct rail link between Port Kembla and western Sydney and the Southern and Western Coalfields including mines in the Lithgow area. Potential freight includes coal, iron ore, grain, containers, kaolin, cars, cement and copper concentrates.

A Maldon to Dombarton Rail Link proposal would include construction of major bridges over the Nepean and Cordeaux Rivers, the Avon Tunnel; a 4 kilometre tunnel to negotiate the Illawarra escarpment, two or three passing loops and junctions for connection to the North South Rail Corridor and the Moss Vale Unanderra line. In addition, there are four overbridges and a short tunnel under the Hume Freeway.

The Australian Government has completed a Scoping and Development project which undertook pre-construction activities including:

  • preparation of detailed design work for civil, structural, geotechnical and track work necessary for the future construction of the project; and
  • finalisation of a construction timetable and cost estimate for the project.

Undertaking detailed planning work in the short term prepares the project for implementation as freight volumes grow. This will ensure that the Illawarra region and NSW more broadly is well positioned to meet increased future demand.

Following the completion of this planning work, the NSW Government has commenced a Registration of Interest (ROI) process for suitably experienced and qualified private sector organisations that are interested in designing, constructing, operating and maintaining the Maldon to Dombarton Railway without any funding from the NSW Government. The ROI process commenced on 13 October 2014 and closes on 24 February 2015.  Further information about NSW's ROI process can be obtained from the NSW eTendering website, Australian Government funds are committed for this process.

Further information about the findings from the completed scoping and development project will be provided following the closure of the NSW ROI process.


The Maldon to Dombarton Rail Link was commenced by the NSW government in 1983, to improve access for coal to Port Kembla. However, the contract for construction of the Avon tunnel was cancelled by the NSW Government in mid-1988 on the basis that due to changes in the economy and closure of a number of coal mines, the project was no longer economically viable. At the time construction was cancelled a significant amount of the earthworks, drainage structures and the approaches to the bridge over the Nepean River had been built and some of the line ballasted.

Following the completion of pre-feasilbility and feasibility studies funded by the Australian Government, the Government allocated up to $25.5 million in funding for the preparation of detailed designs (including civil, structural, geotechnical and track works) necessary for the future construction of the Maldon Dombarton Rail Link.  These funds were not fully utilised as delivery of the project scope by Transport for NSW realised significant cost savings.  The project was subsequently delivered at a cost of $14.6 million.


Faster and more efficient link for rail freight to and from Port Kembla and Western Sydney, the southern and western coalfields and other regions south and west of Sydney.


The Australian Government allocated up to $25.5 million toward this stage of the project.


The project commenced in September 2012 with the pre-construction activities completed in July 2014.

Related Links

Maldon to Dombarton Rail Link

Disclaimer: The material contained in this site is made available on the understanding that the Department is not thereby engaged in rendering professional advice for a particular purpose. Before relying on the material in any important matter, users should carefully evaluate the accuracy, completeness and relevance of the information for their purposes and should obtain appropriate professional advice relevant to their particular circumstances.

Project details last updated: 26/05/2015