Another milestone has been reached in the upgrade of the Melbourne-Sydney-Brisbane rail line by the Australian Rail Track Corporation with the opening of a new 7km long passing loop at Yerong Creek NSW.
The new passing lane at Yerong Creek will now allow trains to pass each other at regular speed, which will reduce the travel time and increase the length of trains able to travel on the network. The trains are now able to enter and leave the passing loops at 80km/hr up from the normal loop speed of 40km/hr.
The length of trains will increase to 1800m allowing more goods to be transported.
ARTC Chief Executive Officer David Marchant said the new passing lane builds on the significant work already completed and will result in shorter transit times between Sydney and Melbourne.
“This passing lane is part of the north-south strategy to cut the transit time from Melbourne to Sydney to as low as 10 hours 40 minutes and 15 hours 35 minutes between Sydney and Brisbane,” Mr Marchant said.
“The Yerong Creek passing lane is the second of five passing lanes on the NSW side of the border, which allows trains to pass each other at speed rather than one standing idle in a siding while waiting for the train travelling in the opposite direction to pass. This follows the successful completion of the first passing lane at Uranquinty.”
“The passing lanes ARTC is constructing along the rail corridor, the new concrete sleepers, and the signal upgrades are, combined, perhaps the biggest rail project since the track was originally laid,” Mr Marchant said.
“For ARTC it marks rail’s resurgence as a realistic freight option.”
“Rail will be more than competitive again and as each 1500 metre long train can replace 100 semi trailers we could see less trucks on our major roads,” Mr Marchant said.
“This program has been an economic boost to regional and rural Australia with new employment opportunities created, ARTC local purchases and equipment hire and the local production of concrete sleepers.”
“We’re quite proud of what has been achieved so far, and there’s more to come,” Mr Marchant said.
In addition, as part of the works the public road level crossing at Yarragundry Street has been upgraded from flashing lights to boom barriers and the pedestrian crossing upgraded from a passively controlled pedestrian maze to the automatic swing gates. This will increase the level of safety to the travelling public.