Track reconditioning work in focus for Hunter Valley Rail Network four-day shutdown

  • Maintenance work will take place throughout ARTC’s rail network in the Hunter Valley next week from Newcastle to Ulan and Narrabri.
  • The four-day shutdown is required for maintenance personnel to gain safe access to the track.
  • Maintenance work on reconditioning will allow trains to travel the network at higher speeds, more reliably and more safely.

The Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC) will carry out a major maintenance shutdown on the Hunter Valley Rail Network from Newcastle to Ulan and Narrabri.

From 9-12 February, approximately 1200 workers will conduct over 440 separate maintenance jobs across the network.

ARTC Group Executive Hunter Valley Network, Wayne Johnson said work on track reconditioning was an important part of maintenance being carried out by ARTC to ensure a safe and reliable network throughout the Hunter.

“We are expecting above average rainfall in the Hunter Valley during autumn and into winter so track reconditioning work is a priority to address drainage and wet ground conditions” said Mr Johnson.

“This type of track maintenance work means we can manage the mud holes which can develop in areas of poor drainage in the rail track ballast,” he said.

“It’s is really important to prevent these because they can lead to the slowing down of the trains, which we want to avoid wherever possible,” he said.

“Apart from speed restrictions and reducing the overall efficiency of the network, another problem created by wet ground conditions is issues with track geometry, which can increase noise generation as the train wheels pass over and deformations when brakes are applied,” said Mr Johnson.

“Again, this is something we want to minimise, and the reconditioning work proactively addresses this issue,” he said.

Mr Johnson explained reconditioning work would involve the excavation and replacement of the structural earthworks layer that provides an underlying support for the ballast, sleepers and rail.

As part of the reconditioning process, we will also add new ballast, replace sleepers and rails and restore rail corridor drainage,” he said.

“The maintenance shutdowns involve more than a thousand workers. It’s a huge undertaking, but we’ve got a great process that allows us to get so much done in just a few days.”

“Our suppliers work closely with us to deliver these works and we thank our customers, community and passengers across the network for their patience while we carry out this important planned maintenance program,” Mr Johnson said

The on-track shutdown maintenance work across the Hunter Valley will start at approx. 6.30am on Tuesday, 9 February and is expected to be completed about 6.30am on Friday 12, February 2021.

Works will include:

  • Muswellbrook Bridge replacement program
  • Upgrading nearly two kilometres of track formation
  • Replacing a major crossover and turnout at Maitland
  • Replacing around 12 kilometres of worn rail
  • 27 track undercutting sites
  • Replacing major steel components on nine turnouts
  • Track defect removals
  • Scheduled maintenance activities.

Passenger services to the North Coast and Maitland will be as per the timetable, but all other regional services will have alternative bus services provided for impacted passenger services.

Details and schedules can be found at the Transport for NSW website.

The next major maintenance shutdown is scheduled for April 2021. For further details


Media contact: ARTC media team 1300 196 401   

Link to images track reconditioning work on the Hunter Valley network here


Go to top