Newcastle & Nth NSW to benefit from ARTC $421.6 million investment

Australian Rail Track Corporation Ltd (ARTC) has commenced a $1.3 billion upgrade of the North South rail network over the next 3 to 4 years which includes $421.6 million on the Main North Line from Sydney to Brisbane.

Present rail freight carried Sydney to Brisbane is only 19% of all freight carried on land transport. ARTC is investing to assist the rail industry to increase market share Sydney to Brisbane to over 30%. The rail freight task would increase by over 118% by 2015 under the ARTC program.

“The programme is focussed on repairing, renovating and rebuilding the rail infrastructure assets, so ARTC can address rail’s performance on the North South corridor and increase its overall market share of freight movement within the corridor,” David Marchant CEO of ARTC said in Newcastle today.

“Our objectives are clearly to improve transit time, reliability, capacity and yield for above and below rail.” David Marchant said.

Major work fromMaitland to Brisbane will include $78 million spent on extending or building new 15 crossings loops that will provide increased capacity and improved transit times through regular and frequently spaced loops, with upgrades to a standard configuration.

Loops will be extended on the Maitland to Brisbane Line at Mindaribba, Kilbride, Dungog, Weismantels, Berrico, Mt George, Kerewong,(new location) Coramba (new location) Braunstone, Kyarran, Namoona (new) Loadstone, Tamrookum (new) Greenbank with work at Telarah for an effective crossing facility.

There will also be $12 million for 18 loops to be upgraded to 1500 metres to achieve maximum efficiency in execution of train crosses with a further $39 million to be spent on concreting curves using 220,000 sleepers, to achieve increased train speeds.

Significantly, the electric train staff safe working system between Casino and Greenbank Queensland will be replaced with a centralised train control system for around $14 million.

Over $50 million is to be spent on other track improvements, including regular partial resleepering with drainage, grinding, tamping, ballasting and track reconditioning as part of an efficient maintenance regime.

This work will see significant improvement in transit times including Melbourne Brisbane transit times at 1500 metre freight trains being reduced from the present 35 hours, 46 minutes to 26 hours, 10 minutes.

Sydney to Brisbane transit times for super freighters will reduce from the present 19 hours 22 minutes to 15 hours 30 minutes.

Newcastle will be the project management focus for the upgrade works.

ARTC has sought alliance partners from the maintenance and construction industries to assist it in undertaking the major works program. The project briefs for these works were issued last week. It is intended that the alliance partners will enter contracts in August.

Newcastle is the principal location for the North Coast Alliance for works between Sydney and Brisbane. ARTC Newcastle office will house the project management team for the Alliance.

On 4 May ARTC also announced its increased $270 million investment strategy for the Hunter Valley corridor to ensure continued rail capacity ahead of coal demand.

29 June 2005

Contact: ARTC Prue Regan 02 8259 0716 / 0419 297 004

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