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The ARA’s new report, the Australian Rail Industry Report, features contributions from 22 rail operators. The association’s chief executive officer, Bryan Nye, said he was encouraged by the statistics outlined in the report, with activity in passenger, light rail and freight all increasing on the previous year.
“This report has shown that passenger journeys on rail increased by 15.4 million in one year taking the total annual figure up to 784.2 million journeys,” Nye said.
The report also shows light rail journeys on the rise, growing by 7.3 million in 2011/12 to reach 166.5 million in total.
“If you look back to 2008, there has been a staggering increase of 84 million passenger journeys on rail, proving that Australians are seeing rail as a viable transport option now more than they ever have before,” he said.
Nye highlighted to the environmental benefits of this usage increase, pointing to the fact that the average train takes 525 cars of the road, “[reducing] carbon emissions by the same amount as planting 320 hectares of trees.
“If the growing trend that this report indicates continues, Australia will be on right on track to a greener, efficient and more productive future through the utilisation of rail,” Nye continued.
The ARA’s report quantifies rail’s transport task, its energy usage and locomotive profile for 2012, as well as bringing to light new statistics on how much the industry as a whole is increasing in its activity.
Freight increased by over 8% to 929.6 million tonnes in 2011/12 with ore constituting for 53%, followed by coal at 33%, according to the report.
“This report justifies increased investment in rail to reduce congestion on roads and increase productivity across the economy,” said Nye.
“With only 5 per cent of freight moving by rail between Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane rail has the capacity and is ready to take more freight between the capitals and free up our congested highways,” Nye concluded.
The 2012 Rail Industry Report is the ninth annual report of its kind commissioned by the ARA. It can be viewed here [PDF link].
This article first appeared on www.railexpress.com.au
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