Broken Hill residents will notice an increase in activity around the City’s railyards as trains begin arriving and offloading the one million new concrete sleepers which will be used to rebuild and restore the line to Parkes.
Federal Infrastructure and Transport Minister Anthony Albanese said the $253 million resleepering project is the most extensive upgrade of the 691 kilometre line between Broken Hill and Parkes since it was completed in 1927.
“Indeed the upgrade of this line is one of the biggest projects to be funded under the Gillard Labor Government’s $3.4 billion capital works program which by mid-2014 will have modernised more than a third of the nation’s interstate rail network – the most extensive upgrade in generations,” said Mr Albanese.
“From the outset, the modernisation of this piece of infrastructure has been central to our broader efforts to lift national productivity, curb harmful carbon emissions and take the pressure off the nation’s highways.”
In the years ahead the demand for the transport of goods on this vital section of the network is expected to rise exponentially.
ARTC CEO David Marchant said the upgrade of the line between Broken Hill and Parkes will improve the overall efficiency of the interstate network.
“Concrete sleepers have a significant advantage over timber sleepers, particularly considering Australia’s rugged topography. They will greatly improve the track’s capacity and reduced transit times,” said Mr Marchant.
“Their use will also reduce the need for temporary speed restrictions in the summer months. Whereas wooden sleepers tend to buckle on extremely hot days, concrete sleepers hold the rail firmly in place.
“The upgrade is good news for the wider community as well. Not only has the project generated jobs and provided a boost to the local economy, the new track will allow more freight to be transported by rail – which overtime will lead to fewer trucks on our roads.”
One 1,500-metre train can replace around 100 trucks.
Austrak in Wagga Wagga will employ 53 people to produce 500,000 concrete sleepers for the project and Rocla in Grafton and Braemar will employ a further 76 locals to produce another 500,000 sleepers.