Sunday 28th Feb, 2021

Eastern Goldfields Railway upgrade complete

John Holland has upgraded one of Western Australia’s most critical pieces of infrastructure, the Eastern Goldfields Railway, the main interstate rail line between WA and the eastern states.

The track is used to carry grain, freight and passenger services and has been in use for more than 100 years.

Arc Infrastructure awarded a $6 million contract to John Holland to replace a 15-kilometre section of life-expired dual gauge rail near Toodyay.

John Holland Project Manager Darren Claridge said the replacement program was completed on time and on budget.

“We started construction on this section of rail in early August and finished at the end of October,” he said.

Related stories:

“It’s quite a technically complex and aggressive project as we replace the line which continue to be used when we are not directly on it.”

The project involved a team of more than 60 people, including engineers, re-rail specialists, traffic management, signal technicians and safety specialists.

Once the team take possession of a track and the old rail is removed, the new rail is welded together at more than 1000 degrees Celsius.

When the appropriate temperature is reached, grinding equipment is used to make sure the surface is smooth, before an engineer checks and signs off on the work.

This process happens every 110 metres, with each step recorded.

“The team are like a well-oiled machine, working tirelessly to change more than 1000m of track every day,” Claridge said.

“Efficiency and safety are at the core of what we do – this line is a crucial link between East and West and if something critical happens, it all shuts down.

“We even have an onsite firefighting appliance to quickly deal with any potential fire risk from the sparks.”