Labor pledges $50 million promise to finish Maldon-Dombarton rail link project

Expect far fewer trucks on Macarthur's main roads if construction of a long abandoned rail project is brought out of mothballs and resumed.

Labor has pledged $50 million towards completion of the Maldon-Dombarton freight rail link project - if the party wins next month's federal election.

Work on the 35-kilometre single-track freight line between Maldon and the Illawarra began in 1983 before the project was shelved by then state Liberal Premier Nick Greiner five years later.

The line has remained untouched over the past three decades.

The Labor Party began advocating for completion of the project, which would provide a rail link between Port Kembla and the Main South Line at Picton, in 2016.

Last week, Macarthur MP Dr Mike Freelander told the Advertiser it was time to complete the Maldon-Dombarton rail link. He said the project would take "thousands of trucks off our roads".

"This is something that I've been pushing a long time - the line is three-quarters built," he said. "It will make a huge difference to Macarthur, particularly on Picton and Appin roads where we have seen many heavy vehicle crashes in recent years.

"Completion of this freight line will make Macarthur's roads much safer."

Macarthur MP Dr Mike Freelander (right) with fellow Labor representatives at Monday's funding promise for the Maldon-Dombarton freight line. Picture: Sylvia Liber

Macarthur MP Dr Mike Freelander (right) with fellow Labor representatives at Monday's funding promise for the Maldon-Dombarton freight line. Picture: Sylvia Liber

Labor believes the Maldon-Dombarton line will be a boon for freight logistics in the Illawarra and south-west Sydney, boosting the economy via job creation and business expansion opportunities.

The remainder of the project would include building a four-kilometre tunnel, high bridges over the Cordeaux and Nepean rivers and a crossing beneath the Hume Highway.

Dr Freelander said the works would create "hundreds of local jobs" during the next construction phase.

He said the project would be for "freight rail only", not train passengers.

"There is a lot of commercial interest in this project," Dr Freelander said.

"Even though construction stopped years ago, I was sure that it would be revived. I am very positive about it."

Labor Infrastructure spokesman Anthony Albanese has called on the Australian government to match Labor's $50 million commitment to the project.

Mr Albanese said he hoped construction would begin in the first term of a Labor government.

Rail Tram and Bus Union national secretary Bob Nanva said he was in favour of funding for the Maldon-Dombarton rail line.

"The Maldon-Dombarton link is the Australian transport industry's version of the Loch Ness Monster," he said.

"Everyone talks about it, but no-one has ever seen it."

A site of Maldon-Dombarton rail link sign in 2014. Picture: Steve Darcy

A site of Maldon-Dombarton rail link sign in 2014. Picture: Steve Darcy