More than $20 million in maintenance work is being delivered in the Hunter Valley during a 60-hour planned shutdown by the Australian Rail Track Corporation this week.
ARTC executive general manager for the Hunter Valley Jonathan Vandervoort said around 1000 contractors would join ARTC staff this week to deliver dozens of maintenance projects on the network.
The pre-planned maintenance work sees new rail being laid, level crossings improved, ballast cleaned and signalling work completed.
The network shutdown began at 6am on Tuesday, August 23, and will run to the late evening of Thursday, August 25.
The Hunter Valley network feeds coal to the Port of Newcastle.
Work will take place in the rail corridor from around Kooragang Island, North to Narrabri and between Muswellbrook and Ulan on the Ulan line.
The ARTC’s Hunter Network has been the subject of unplanned shutdowns in recent weeks, with major industrial action taking place across the Corporation’s New South Wales railways.
But with major maintenance tasks planned like re-railing and track reconditioning, the ARTC wants to go ahead with the planned shutdown despite this.
“While there was severe disruption to railway services over the last few weeks due to industrial action, the critical nature and scale of the work means that the maintenance shutdown will proceed as planned,” Vandervoort said.
“We will be working very closely with our customers to see what opportunities there are following the maintenance shutdown to recover from the industrial action period as best as possible.
“Our focus is on safe, continuous and reliable operations and this maintenance shutdown is critical to ensuring the Hunter coal chain runs as seamlessly as possible.”
The next major maintenance shutdown is planned for October 11 to 14.