“Bringing rail to the customer – a short line service” Regional Connect
The Riverina has an extensive rail system of over 500 kilometres of branch lines that connect to the main line at Junee as well as Cootamundra. These lines are currently services by a scheduled Melbourne bound container train from Griffith as well as on-demand grain train services. There are no scheduled services to Sydney or Brisbane.
However, on the mainline where the Riverina branch lines connect at Junee and Cootamundra there are over 10 services a day that connect to Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne and across to Perth.
Regional Connect is a local freight train that will offer a rail service and placement of freight on the main line at either Junee or Cootamundra, for collection by one of the many passing rail freight services. This concept opens up options for rail freight into Sydney, Brisbane and other locations as well as Melbourne and the west.
Modelled on the very successful US experience with short line rail, Regional Connect will aim to establish small local terminals and “bring rail to the customer.” It will tackle one of the costs that currently inhibit the use of rail – the pick up and delivery (PUD) cost in getting freight to rail.
Regional Connect will also look at ways of reopening or reinvigorating disused rail links such as the Whitton line from Yanco Junction.
Regional Connect is part of the Colin Rees Group. They currently operate the Ettamogah Rail Hub and are, along with Amberly Group, the developers of the Widgelli Rail Hub and Business Park on the outskirts of Griffith. Regional Connect will be based at Widgelli Rail Hub.
Colin Rees Group
Colin Rees Group (CRG) has a history stretching back over 60 years and 3 generations. As owners and operators of the Ettamogah Rail Hub as well as a number of other transport related businesses, Colin Rees and his daughter Kellie have a reputation for innovation and customer service. They have a proven track record in rail, having built or operated five rail hubs.
After a long career in the Design & Construct building industry, Cameron Jackson has joined the CRG team. He has been responsible for some of the largest and technologically advanced distribution centres in the country. Cameron brings a wealth of knowledge to the company and will head up the future direction of the business on behalf of the Rees family.
Amberley Group is owned by the Morshead family. They are fourth generation Griffith farmers they have broad acre interest in and around Widgelli and own the land on which the Widgelli Rail Hub and Business Park will be located.
Their family have formed a joint initiative with Colin Rees Group to develop the hub and business park, and see this as a diversification that can offer huge benefits to businesses in the Griffith region.