News: The billion-dollar upgrade and modernisation of Australia's east coast interstate rail network from North Strathfield via Sydney's northern suburbs to Newcastle has reached the first major milestone, with the commissioning of the new passing loop at Hexham, reports WorldCargo News Online. The new 1,500m passing loop offers solution to the shortage of space previously available for holding freight trains on the outskirts of Sydney, Federal Infrastructure Minister Anthony Albanese said. The offered remedy could enable better coordination with CityRail passenger services, Albanese added. Following the conclusion of the project, the planned improvements will take 200,000 trucks off the road on a yearly basis, reduce more than 100,000 tonnes of annual carbon emissions and decrease diesel usage by nearly 40mn litres annually. Additionally, this will increase the corridor's capacity to 44 freight trains a day from 29, Albanese added.