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Maintenance break looks to boost Hunter coal throughput

Coal Train Photo Hunter Valley Coal Chain Coordinator

Australian Rail Track Corporation general manager Jonathan Vandervoort says the Hunter Valley coal chain will get an uptick in performance thanks to a 72-hour maintenance shutdown later this month.

The ARTC on Monday announced scheduled maintenance will close the Hunter coal network from early in the morning on Tuesday, May 31, to 6am on Friday, June 3.

“Keeping the rail network running safely and smoothly is a bit like running a finely tuned racing car,” Vandervoort said.

“There are multiple components that intricately work together for it to perform well and it requires and in-depth check-up and regular maintenance to ensure it continues running safely for over 250 train services a day.”

100 projects are scheduled to take place during the three-day shutdown. 1000 staff and contractors will work to deliver millions of dollars of new work and maintenance.

“It’s far more efficient to package the vast amount of work needed into 72 hours rather than spread over many nights and in-between live running rail traffic,” Vandervoort explained.

“By ‘closing down’ the networks and with fewer trains running we create a safer environment for our people and provide the opportunity to get the maximum amount of rail maintenance done.”

The ARTC and Hunter Valley Coal Chain Coordinator work together to plan maintenance on the network over a year in advance.

The next major shutdown is planned for August 23 to 25. ARTC also plans to do some weekend work on the network near the Port of Newcastle from June 11 to 13.

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