A project to upgrade the Melbourne to Albury interstate rail line has won the inaugural National Transport Outcomes Award, recognising transport achievement and innovation.
The $30 million project to rehabilitate and upgrade 320 kilometres of the interstate rail network between Melbourne and Albury was carried out by Australian Rail Track Corporation and won the prestigious award ahead of 27 other entries from around Australia.
The presentation was made at the Australian Shipping and Transport Awards gala dinner held in Sydney last night and is the second award won by the project in the last two months.
On receiving the award, ARTC Managing Director, David Marchant said, “I am delighted that ARTC has won this important award. It clearly demonstrates that with an improved approach to engineering and management, rail has a very important role to play in the national transport network.”
David Marchant continued, “The challenge was to develop a cost-effective solution to rehabilitate the section of track between Melbourne and Albury under ARTC management, in order to bring the load carrying capacity and speeds of trains on the line up to Australian Transport Council (ATC) standards.”
“This was achieved through an innovative engineering approach developed by ARTC to address the overall condition of track, but at a much lower cost than traditional engineering solutions.”
“The track is now able to carry heavier loads at higher speeds and with greater reliability, and as a result help train operators to offer a more competitive rail freight service between Melbourne and Albury.”
“If this cost-effective and sound engineering practice can be undertaken between Albury and Sydney, then rail will be in a position to win back traffic from road along the whole corridor, reduce transport costs for industry and provide significant community benefits,” David Marchant said. Over the last three years, an extensive program of infrastructure upgrades funded by ARTC and the Commonwealth Government combined with more effective management of train operations has resulted in increased reliability and capacity across the ARTC network. On the Melbourne-Adelaide- Perth corridor, rail now has a 78 per cent share of the land transport market.
David Marchant concluded, “It has been widely acknowledged that improved rail infrastructure can provide significant environmental and social benefits for the community through a reduction in Greenhouse gases, fewer truck journeys and reduced road trauma with industry benefiting from a more efficient transport network. I believe these were important factors in ARTC winning this award.”
The Transport Outcomes Award is sponsored by the National Transport Secretariat on behalf of the Australian State, Territory and Commonwealth Transport Ministers and is open to entrants from across the transport industry and government.
Last month ARTC was presented with the Institution of Engineers Australia (SA Division) Award for Engineering Excellence in Infrastructure for its North East corridor project which will see it automatically entered into the National Engineering Awards.