The Australian Rail Track Corporation Ltd (ARTC) $80 million Sandgate Grade Separation at Sandgate in Newcastle was officially opened this afternoon by the Hon Mark Vaile Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Transport and Regional Services.
The Sandgate Grade Separation is the first major ARTC project completed by ARTC since Take Up of the 60 year Lease of the NSW Hunter Valley coal network in September 2004.
The new rail flyover will free up the Hunter Valley network as mainline passenger and general freight trains will now pass over the coal line allowing coal trains to travel uninterrupted into the Kooragang Island coal terminal.
“The Sandgate Grade separation will end this existing rail bottleneck. Coal trains regularly have had to wait for 30 minutes or more for general freight and passenger trains to pass before crossing the line to Kooragang Island Loading Facility with the delay then escalating up the Valley ” David Marchant Chief Executive of ARTC said.
The flyover along with ARTC’s introduction of 80 km/hr approaches to Minimbah and Nundah banks will immediately lift coal capacity in the Hunter Valley to around 115 million tonnes a year.” Mr Marchant said.
The $80 million Sandgate project includes the flyover and major bridge extension and upgrade works at Wallsend.
The Sandgate Flyover is part of a $381 million capacity enhancement strategy for the Hunter Valley coal rail network as part of the Australian government and ARTC’s $2 billion plus current interstate rail improvement program.
Major contractors on the ARTC managed project were John Holland Rail and Civil, Union Switch and Signal, Acrogen, GH, Arup and PRE.