Ministerial Press Release:
North Coast Rail Upgrade Progressing on Schedule

The multi-million project initiated just three months to eliminate sharp bends on the Interstate Rail Network between Newcastle and the Queensland border is progressing well following the completion of work on the first of many sections of track identified as needing to be replaced.

Federal Infrastructure and Transport Minister Anthony Albanese said by straightening the line so trains can safely use it at higher speed, the $170 million North Coast Curve Easing Project will shave almost an hour off transit times along Australia’s east coast.

“Today a section of track just south of Casino became the first to be fixed as a result of this project, with work at the remaining 57 locations along the main North-South Line to be completed by the end of the year on time and on budget,” said Mr Albanese.

“All up, the Gillard Labor Government is investing an unprecedented $3.4 billion to modernise the Interstate Rail Network — a capital works program which by 2014 will have rebuilt more than a third of this critical piece of infrastructure — or 3,771 kilometres of existing track — as well as extended its reach by a further 235 kilometres.

“Building a faster, safer and more reliable rail network is central to our broader efforts to boost national productivity and reduce Australia’s carbon footprint.”

See attached maps for more details about the extensive upgrade of the Interstate Rail Network currently occurring both on the NSW North Coast as well as nationwide.

Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC) CEO John Fullerton explained the curve easing program was a key aspect of his organisation’s strategy to reduce transit times, increase capacity and build a highly reliable North South rail link.

“As a result of the work we’ve already completed on the North Coast line, our new timetables are revealing significant time saving improvements between the East Coast capitals,” said Mr Fullerton.

“But there’s more to be done and the North Coast Curve Easing Project is simply the next stage in our long term plan to renew and expand the nation’s rail infrastructure.

“As well as faster transit times, the investment we’re making will also help cut greenhouse gas emissions, reduce track maintenance costs and improved the overall competitiveness of rail.

“This is not only good news for the economy but also the wider community.  With one 1,500 metre train able to carry as much freight as 100 semi-trailers, rail’s revival will see fewer trucks on North Coast roads.”

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