Tarago Passing Loop Project - FAQ door knock

As part of the community engagement for the Tarago Passing Loop which forms part of the NSW Government’s  Fixing Country Rail Program, John Holland Rail on behalf of Transport for NSW will be conducting a door knock of the Tarago township to provide information on the Tarago Passing Loop Project. We will be conducting the door knock between 31 January and 1 February 2019 and residents will be provided with the attached FAQ.



What is the Tarago Passing Loop Project? 

The Tarago Passing Loop project will convert the existing siding at Tarago into a open access passing loop as part of the NSW Government’s $400M Fixing Country Rail program. The construction of the passing loop is jointly funded by Transport for NSW and Veolia. 


Why is this project needed?

Veolia received approval from the Department of Planning in 2012 to receive by rail, two waste trains per day into Veolia’s Crisps Creek Facility. Following this approval, the announcement of the Fixing Country Rail program in 2016 created a funding opportunity to improve the rail network and optimise operations at Tarago.


Who is building the passing loop?

Transport for NSW is undertaking the works in Tarago, as part of the NSW Government’s Fixing Country Rail program across regional NSW. Works are being completed by Transport for NSW’s contractor, John Holland Rail.


What are the details of the project?

The project essentially has four components:

  • The refurbishment of the deteriorated existing Woodlawn siding previously used for Woodlawn Mine loading;

  • The removal of turnouts to convert the Woodlawn siding to a longer passing loop, eliminating the use of Tarago as a siding;

  • The extension of the loop by 581 metres towards Goulburn on the Woodlawn siding alignment, including installation of a new turnout; and

  • Upgrade of the level crossing at Goulburn Street to an active crossing with lights and booms.


What are the benefits of this project?

The project will:

  • Remove the need for multiple shunting operations at Tarago and Goulburn;

  • Result in waste trains remaining stationery in Tarago for a shorter period;

  • Reduce the number of currently scheduled loaded waste trains passing through Tarago daily, from 3 down to 2, due to the removal of shunting operations;

  • Increase the reliability of passenger train services between Goulburn and Canberra by providing a new open access passing loop for all train services; and

  • Improve safety at Goulburn Street level crossing for motorists and pedestrians.


Why we are building the project in Tarago?

The Tarago location was selected as it:

  • Provides the greatest improvement to network flexibility for all users;

  • Minimises community impacts from waste trains;

  • Is the best use of existing infrastructure;

  • Has the lowest environmental impact;

  • Provides a solution to the current stowing of trains and shunting operations in Tarago and can be executed in a short time frame; and

  • Increases safety at the Goulburn Street level crossing.


Why were alternative locations not selected?

No change to the existing arrangements would continue to see passenger services occasionally impacted by waste train operations due to inefficient shunting operations. Loaded waste trains would continue to be placed in Tarago for extended periods.

Therefore, three options where considered for the project. A new siding within Veolia’s Crisps Creek Facility was considered, however discounted as access would not be available to the whole network and on-site restrictions increased the complexity of the project.

The establishment of a new siding or loop adjacent to the main line, approximately 10 km north of Tarago, was also considered, however owing to the terrain, the greenfield environmental impacts and the location being undesirable and inefficient from a train operations perspective, it was determined the Tarago Passing Loop option was preferred.


Once complete, what will change?

Once the passing loop has been completed, shunting of trains across multiple locations will no longer be necessary under normal conditions, minimising the number and duration trains are held within the passing loop, reducing minor vibration and noise impacts and perceived odour on the Tarago local community.

Safety at the Goulburn Street level crossing will also be enhanced for both motorists and pedestrians following the installation of boom gates and reduction in the number of current waste trains passing through the crossing each day.


How long will trains be parked in the new passing loop?



Once the passing loop is complete the time trains are normally placed in the passing loop will be reduced from approximately 3 hours for one loaded train to approximately 1 hours for one unloaded train. This reduction in time, reflects that the train will only remain placed in the new passing loop for the time it takes for the main line to be clear of all other rail traffic including a passenger service and the second waste train from Sydney moving into the Crisps Creek Facility.


What Information will be provided to the community?

As planning for the project progresses, John Holland Rail in conjunction with Veolia and Transport for NSW will be providing regular updates to the Tarago community through letterbox drops, FAQs like this and meetings with the community, information on the project will also be available on the John Holland Rail Country Regional Network Website at www.jhrcrn.com.au


When is work expected to commence?

Works are currently scheduled to commence mid 2019. The construction period will be 4 months, subject to weather. Project completion and passing loop use is expected in late 2019.Some helpful definitions

Passing Loop: is a place on a rail line, where trains can pass each other. A passing loop also sometimes called a crossing loop, is usually the length of a single train and connected to the main track at both ends.


Shunting: is the process of connecting or decoupling locomotives and carriages, shunting usually occurs in a siding.


Siding: A section of lower speed track connected to a main line, used for a range of operations that would otherwise inhibit rail traffic on the main line i.e. short or long term storage of rail wagons.


Turnout: also known as a switch, is used to enable trains to move from one set of tracks to another.


Further enquiries 

Please contact our Community Relations team on 1300 661 390 or email crn.enquiry@jhg.com.au.