Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC) has continued its drive to upgrade the Hunter Valley Coal corridor with the construction of a new passing loop at Koolbury, between Muswellbrook and Scone.
The project cost around $17.5 million and involved ARTC constructing new track to accommodate 1350m trains.
The loop required the removal of a disused bridge, replaced by an earth embankment and integrated drainage pipes. It also required the installation of new digital signal equipment and concrete sleepers.
The new loop will enable trains to pass each other efficiently as one train enters the loop and waits for a short period while the other train passes at regular speed.
ARTC CEO John Fullerton explained that the new passing loop at Koolbury is a good example of the ongoing upgrade of the Hunter Valley rail corridor which is essential for the network to keep ahead of increasing demand for coal from the region.
“Demand for coal from the Hunter Valley is set to nearly double over the next 5 years. The construction of the new passing loop at Koolbury will increase capacity on the rail network and forms part of ARTC’s strategy to keep capacity ahead of forecast increases in market demand,” Mr Fullerton said.
“Put simply, these projects are designed to help get more coal to port more efficiently.”
“There is more to be done. ARTC will push forward with our development of the Hunter Valley rail corridor with new passing loops and other infrastructure upgrades.”