Epping to Thornleigh Third Track


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This is probably one of the first and last posts I'll write about my immediate neighbourhood. Construction of the Epping to Thornleigh Third Track, also known as the Freight Corridor, has finally started. Years ago when we first heard of this, the community and locals from the No Third Track Action Group spread the word and tried to get a petition out to stop the third track being built. My parents also emailed statements of their opposition on advice from the same action group who gave out fliers at the local station.

Some of their concerns are summarised succinctly in the paragraph below from this petition's page.

The noise from freight trains is already over 100dB causing significant harm
Coal dust and mining chemicals are increasingly recognised carcinogens - they come past our homes and schools
Property values will slump as the noise and pollution increases
Construction activity and depots throughout 2119 for years
Contrary to law they have predetermined the Environment Impact Assessment
They are only proceeding because the federal government is paying $3/4billion
The case for a third line does not stand up to basic engineering, logistics, and infrastructure best practice scrutiny

There are advantages of these new freight tracks in light of the numbers of delays we have had lately with freight trains stopping on commuter tracks, and the fact that properly maintained freight tracks (or any tracks, to be honest, but we're not that demanding) should have better ballast and therefore be much quieter than on the current tracks. Dedicated tracks for freight would also stop the wearing away of commuter tracks, when you consider the load that freight trains carry compared to what commuter trains carry. But of course, this is not necessarily the entire story..

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It cannot be denied there is a devastating amount of collateral damage as a result of the construction of these tracks and this can be no clearer than it is now. The trees that exist at the local park and have been there since 1890 will be removed to fit the new tracks, as will numerous other trees and the current car park. There truly has been too much destruction of lovely old trees lately, that even replanting new trees cannot fix. Additionally, this memorial garden as a whole will be destroyed and children will be denied the opportunity to play at the local playground. I'm sure the face of our suburb as we know it will change quite dramatically.

And that's sad.

I'm at a loss what to really think, if I must be honest. But it truly is upsetting to think that these places from my past will be gone (though that's not unusual), others will not be able to experience my community as it was, and that once beautiful trees that use to thrive with wildlife are demolished. At the very least, I hope that rather than demolishing these old trees, these trees will be transplanted elsewhere, unlike the already cleared land further up from the station, where lonely stumps stand, waiting. We can certainly also expect trackwork for a long while to come, as well as the constant movement of trucks and other machinery.

You can stay updated on this matter here.

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