A new railway plan for Canberra's scrap metal
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A new railway plan for Canberra's scrap metal

Fewer freight vehicles will need to use roads linking Canberra and NSW as a new strategy for the ACT's scrap metal comes into force.

Planning Minister Mick Gentleman visited the Kingston Rail Yard on Friday to announce the new transport initiative, a partnership with Access Recycling, Espee Railroad Services and John Holland Rail, formerly known as the Rail Infrastructure Corporation.

As part of the project, roads to Sydney's Port Botany will see fewer B-double trucks carrying scrap metal. Access Recycling has been given rights to use the rail link to the old container terminal in a bid to improve road safety and environmental outcomes.

The ACT and NSW governments have agreed to a two-year trial of the plan, which also eliminates the need for steel to travel to be processed in Sydney before export.

The processing can now take place at the Access Recycling site in Fyshwick.

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"By using the existing freight rail infrastructure we can improve road safety and reduce vehicle emissions," Mr Gentleman said.

"Most freight to and from the ACT is road based and our rail network is under utilised. The ACT Freight Strategy, due for release later this year, recognises the importance of retaining rail infrastructure for future potential use."

Mr Gentleman said the ACT government was committed to delivering efficient, safe and well-designed freight and traffic networks for passengers, goods and services to, coming to and from the territory.

"With national freight projected to double by 2020, it is important that the ACT develops freight infrastructure that is efficient and can deliver productivity outcomes that are on par with the national and international freight industries."

A freight strategy discussion paper was released for consultation last year and considered freight growth, infrastructure and national commitments.

Asset Recycling director Adam Perry welcomed the announcement.

"We are committed to establishing a direct-to-market export operation for our recycling business in the capital," he said.

"Access Recycling has invested $3 million on metal processing and container loading equipment for our Fyshwick site. A single weekly train service will transport 50 shipping containers of processes recycled metal direct to Port Botany. This will remove five our our B-double trucks from highways each day."

Espee Railroad Services corporate services manager Bruce Balin said the project would benefit the Australian Railway Historical Society ACT Division.

"This is a big achievement for the society as profits from the commercial operations enable historic carriages and locomotives to be restored for the local community," he said.

Tom McIlroy is a political reporter for the Financial Review in the federal press gallery at Parliament House.