ARTC Commisions Major New Capacity in the Hunter

Australian Rail Track Corporation Ltd (ARTC) has now commissioned the newly completed Muswellbrook Junction and Passing Loop project on its Hunter Valley coal rail network that will further increase capacity and provide for forecasted increases in coal traffic on the Hunter Valley rail network.

“The $10.5 million Muswellbrook Junction and associated new Passing Loop is a key project to enable ARTC’s Hunter Valley rail network to handle the projected haulage demands from increases in existing mine production and from new mine projects currently being planned.” David Marchant Chief Executive of ARTC said today.

“This new bi directional crossing facility for Ulan and Main North (Werris Creek) coal trains at Muswellbrook eliminates a major constraint in the network by removing significant delays of up to 60 minutes on the Ulan line joining the main north at Muswellbrook. The project’s extension of the existing loop to 1800metres will now allow a full length coal train of 1550m to cross at Muswellbrook and reduce cycle times for crossing trains by up to 60 minutes.” Mr Marchant said.

Further benefits of the project include the installation of new signalling infrastructure, new track work, improvements to the existing goods siding and the reduction in running times on the longest single track section by 8 minutes. Also improved track geometry over the length of the works will minimise long term maintenance costs

This project follows on from ARTC’s completion of the Sandgate flyover last November and works in January to increase speeds from 60 to 80 kms per hour to the steeply graded Minimbah and Nundah banks for loaded coal trains.

Subject to coal industry approval Stage 2 of this project which is to be undertaken next year, would further increase line speeds, duplicate the line from Muswellbrook to St Heliers and provide operational flexibility and install new signalling.

The Muswellbrook Yard project forms part of ARTC’s Muswellbrook to Antiene line duplication project and is part of ARTC’s $381 million Hunter Valley Coal Network Enhancement Strategy over the next four years.

28 June 2007

Contact: David Marchant 0419 733 201

or Prue Regan 02 8259 0716 or 0419 297 004

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