Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC) today signed an agreement with Leighton Contractors to create the Upper Hunter Valley Alliance which will deliver a $152 million programme of works on the Hunter Valley Rail corridor.
The programme incorporates two works packages designed to increase the coal carrying capacity of the Hunter Valley Rail network.
In alliance with ARTC, Leighton Contractors will be commissioned to undertake all civil and track works in accordance with the ARTC 2009 – 2018 Hunter Valley Corridor Capacity Strategy from Singleton to Muswellbrook (Upper Hunter 1), Muswellbrook to Werris Creek (Upper Hunter 2). Leighton Contractors will be supported by sub-alliance partners Parsons Brinckerhoff, Coffey Geotechnics and KMH Environmental.
At the signing ceremony in Newcastle, ARTC CEO David Marchant explained that the ongoing upgrade of the Hunter Valley rail corridor is essential if the network is to keep pace with increasing demand for coal from the region.
“Demand for Hunter Valley coal is set to grow exponentially by 2012. The programme of works to be undertaken by ARTC and Leighton Contractors is part of ARTC’s strategy to maintain the Hunter Valley rail network ahead of future market demands,” Mr Marchant said.
“ARTC is working with the Hunter Valley coal industry and the Australian Government to ensure that rail ‘steps up to the plate’ and delivers an efficient connection between the Gunnedah Basin and the Newcastle ports.”
“Against the backdrop of volatile world markets, this programme of works will be essential in enabling the Hunter Valley corridor to meet future demand, deliver coal to port efficiently and thereby contribute to the ongoing recovery of the Australian economy.”
Leighton Contractors General Manager NSW/ACT, Mike Metcalfe, said the announcement reflected Leighton Contractors’ ability to provide comprehensive rail and civil infrastructure solutions in alliance with major customers, such as ARTC.
“This programme is pivotal for the future success of the Hunter Valley, and Leighton Contractors is ready to deliver the works efficiently and effectively,” Mr Metcalfe said.
“As a leader in rail and civil infrastructure, Leighton Contractors has the skills and the experience to ensure the best possible outcomes for ARTC, the network and the Hunter Valley coal industry.”
Specifically the programme of work includes:
- Nundah Bank Track triplication – a third track approximately 8km long to be laid at Nundah Bank and commissioned by 30 April, 2012;
- Drayton Junction Upgrade – programmed to be completed by 31 November, 2010;
- Werris Creek By-Pass – the re-instatement of the full line to Gap and to establish a triangle connection to provide an effective by-pass of Werris Creek. This is programmed to be commissioned by 31 December, 2010.
- Scone Yard Reconfiguration – to be commissioned by 31 December, 2010.
- Passing loop construction – passing loops will be constructed at Braefield; Quipolly; Quirindi; Wingen; and Koolbury.
- Passing loop extension – passing loops will be extended at Parkville; Murrurundi to cater for longer trains.