At Gunning in NSW, Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC) and the Southern Improvement Alliance today laid the 1,000,000th new concrete sleeper between Sydney and Melbourne marking a milestone in a $2.1 billion plus boost rail’s freight transport competitiveness.
This is part of the historic upgrade of the Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane rail link. ARTC had allocated some $400 million to replace wooden and steel sleepers on the Melbourne-Sydney-Brisbane rail corridor with around 2.2 million new concrete sleepers.
Concrete sleepers will provide consistency on the line; although consistency in rail sleepers may not sound significant it will mean better efficiency from the track and reduced transit times between the main eastern State demand centres.
Include the new passing loops, signal upgrades and track and bridge work on the NSW North Coast line along with the $200 million plus Southern Sydney Freight Line and there will be a whole new rail era unfolding between Melbourne and Brisbane.
Once the resleepering and passing lanes are completed, ARTC will be able to offer the freight industry transit times as low as 10 hours 40 minutes between Sydney and Melbourne and 15 hours 35 minutes between Sydney and Brisbane.
Nearly 1,500 kilometres of new concrete sleepers would be laid along the main rail line between Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane as well as along the main coal export line up the Hunter Valley in New South Wales. The project is scheduled for completion in early 2009.
By working with the South Improvement Alliance partners ARTC has improved efficiencies with side sleeper insertion techniques, which had never been previously used in Australia, and, again have set new standards.