Wagga centre of $730 Million Syd to Melb Rail Upgrade

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 $730 million on the Main South Line from Sydney to Melbourne.

Wagga will be the project management focus for the upgrade works with a large portion of the projects on the Line fromMelbourne to Sydney to be managed from Wagga.

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.

Wagga is to be the principal location for the Southern ARTC Alliance for works between Macarthur in Sydney to Tottenham in Melbourne. ARTC’s Wagga corridor office will house the project management team for this alliance.

“The upgrade 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 today in Wagga.

$248 million will be spent on passing lane construction and related signalling to include construction of 16 major passing lanes, resulting in the construction of over 220 kilometres of new track. Passing lanes offer the optimal solution to providing increased capacity and improved transit time on the Junee to Melbourne corridor which is currently only single line track.

In Wagga itself, a new rail bridge will be built over the Murrumbidgee River at a cost of around $15 million.

From Junee to Sydney there will be constructed 8 sets of cross overs for improved maintenance and operational flexibility.

ARTC will further invest in the progressive resleepering of the track through major concrete sleepering on curves with a radius of 810 metres or less to increase maximum train speeds for rail freight efficiencies and to minimise ongoing maintenance costs.

All signal boxes and signalling will be automated on the corridor back to Junee train control. Junee train control will be able to operate the signals automatically from the centre. These train control operations will be extended to include the area from Tottenham in Melbourne through to Sydney Port.

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

The outcomes from the Strategy will see significant improvements from present performance: transit times will be reduced from 13 hours 30 minutes for 1500m long super freighters to 10 hours 40 minutes fromMelbourne to Sydney – with 1800 metre superfreighters being able to achieve 11 hours 30 minutes. Passenger trains should also benefit from these significant track upgrades.

Present rail freight carried Melbourne to Sydney is only 11% of all freight carried on land transport. ARTC is investing to assist the rail industry to increase its market share Melbourne-Sydney –Brisbane to over 40% of land transport. This would be an increase of over 109% in tonnes carried on the eastern seaboard. 28 June 2005

Contact : Prue Regan 02 8259 0716 / 0419 297 004

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