Australian Rail Track Corporation Ltd CEO David Marchant, announced today that ARTC will lift the current speed restriction on the Menangle Rail Bridge following ARTC’s finalisation of a safety assessment by engineering consultants URS Australia Pty Ltd.
This detailed review of the Menangle Bridge structure has determined that the speed restriction on the bridge can be lifted from the present 40 km/h to 80 km/h. ARTC has adopted the Report’s recommendation and will lift the speed from 31 October 2005.
The URS report commissioned by ARTC confirms the safe workings of the bridge and the lifting of the temporary speed restriction as previously recommended in the Grundy Report of August 2003.
Since taking over the Lease of the NSW interstate network last September, ARTC has implemented the recommendations of the Grundy Report in its technical management on the bridge including condition monitoring and general maintenance.
The Grundy Report in 2003 recommended that the line speed be resumed immediately and that the bridge could remain in service for more than 50 years without the need to be replaced in 2006.
The Menangle Bridge since its four week closure in 2003 has operated at the maximum axle load of 25 tonne but has continued to operate with a speed restriction of 40 km/hr.
The Menangle Bridge is a crucial part of the Main South Line between Melbourne and Sydney and impacts on the efficiency of the line for freight and passenger services.
The lifting of the temporary speed restriction will benefit transit times between Sydney and Melbourne for freight operators and inter city passenger trains, as well as local passenger trains for southern highlands commuters.
ARTC in lifting the speed restriction is confident that the recommendations of URS and the previous Grundy Report confirm the structural integrity and safety of the Menangle Bridge.
Two years after the temporary speed restriction was lifted to 40 km/ph, the latest Investigation Report has found that no immediate work is required and no further deterioration of the infrastructure has occurred.
ARTC has implemented a tailored Maintenance Plan specifically for Menangle Bridge to ensure ongoing safe and reliable passenger and freight services. ARTC
plans to invest $2 million over the next five years for further ongoing maintenance and enhancement of safety and reliability of the bridge
ARTC manages the NSW interstate line under a 60 year lease from the New South Wales government and has recently announced a $1.3 billion investment program for the upgrade of the main North South Corridor between Melbourne and Brisbane.
The URS Report is available on the ARTC website at www.artc.com.au
12 October 2005
Contact : David Marchant 0419 733 201
Prue Regan 02 8259 0716 or 0419 297 004