Saturday 2nd Jul, 2022

Track possession begins on Inland Rail section

The Australian Rail Track Corporation has appointed a company to enhance project governance and support decision making for the $10 billion Inland Rail project.

Track possession on the southern portion of the Narrabri to North Star section is underway, to allow construction of the next 57 kilometres of rail line.

Inland Rail Narrabri to North Star (N2NS) Project Director Peter Borrelli said the construction within the existing rail corridor between Narrabri and Penneys Road north of Bellata would go until 31 October so that the line could be operational before the next harvest season.

“Our contractor, Trans4m Rail will focus its construction effort on the southern portion of the Narrabri to North Star section during this time, which means that over the next few months we should see Inland Rail make significant strides,” Borrelli said.

“This time last year, we closed 29km of rail line between Penneys Road and Tapscott Road south of Moree and upgraded that track in time to have it reopen on 1 November for the grain harvest to minimise impacts on operators.

“We were delighted to get the first grain train on the new tracks right on schedule in 2021 and will be looking to do the same thing this year. We are committed to working with community and industry, including grain growers, traders and train operators to assess and mitigate concerns where we can.”

Track possessions are crucial to ensure the project can deliver the upgrades as efficiently and safely as possible.

“As part of this possession we will be rebuilding the formation to allow an improved flood immunity, constructing new bridges and drainage culverts, replacing existing sleepers and track with concrete sleepers and new steel tracks, as well as upgrading level crossings and signalling and communications equipment, among many other things,” Borrelli said.

“While freight and the XPT passenger services will be stopped during this period, we ask motorists to remain vigilant and slow down at all level crossings during the works as there will be mobile and track machinery and other movements on the rail line.”

The Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC) is working with NSW TrainLink to supply bus coaches to transfer rail passengers between Moree and Narrabri during the construction works.

Since the Narrabri to North Star section of Inland Rail commenced in September 2020, 977 people have worked on the project, including 296 local residents.

Businesses have also seen positive impacts with 316 local suppliers and nine Indigenous businesses sharing in more than $79.3 million in stimulus supplying and servicing the build.

“Inland Rail means more money spent with local businesses at the same time as building an asset that will benefit the region for generations. This project is supporting jobs, creating opportunities and enhancing connectivity in the region for years to come,” Borrelli said.

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