Innovative construction methodology being used for Muswellbrook bridges during Hunter Valley Rail Network shutdown


  • Maintenance work will take place next week from Newcastle to Ulan for the Hunter Valley Rail network.
  • The three-day shutdown will take place between 6.30am Tuesday 25 May and 6.30am Friday 28 May and is required for maintenance personnel to gain safe access to the track.
  • The Muswellbrook bridge project is being built using an incremental launch process with sections being made in a purpose-built casting yard.

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

From 25-27 May, 1200 workers will conduct over 212 separate maintenance jobs across the network.

ARTC Group Executive Hunter Valley Network, Wayne Johnson said construction of the Muswellbrook Bridge replacement project is using an incremental launch process. This involves the bridge being built in phases as the eight sections of the bridge are constructed.

The new bridge sections will be constructed onsite in a specially fabricated casting yard, which has just been completed. The next six to eight weeks will see construction the first section with a launch scheduled for mid to late June.

“The first section will take longer to complete and then remaining seven will take around three weeks each,” Mr Johnson said.

“There are a number of benefits to using this construction technique. While it does take a little longer, it’s substantially less intrusive to the natural environment which has been identified as key fish habitat and the trees in the area are home to a significant population of protected Grey-Headed Flying-Fox,” said Mr Johnson.

“This type of technique is more commonly observed in the construction of road bridges rather than rail but is good for building bridges that require large span lengths and we would utilise this process again for any  future bridge projects,” Mr Johnson said.

Mr Johnson said the bridge will be built away from the construction site of the existing bridges to allow for the works to continue outside of scheduled track possessions. Currently, the project’s completion date is scheduled for June 2022.

The on-track shutdown maintenance work across the Hunter Valley will start at approximately 6.30am on Tuesday 25 May and is expected to be completed at 8.30pm on Thursday 27 May 2021.

Works will include:

  • Upgrading 290M of track formation
  • Replacing a major crossover and major turnout at Quirindi
  • Replacing 8,000M of worn rail
  • 20 undercutting sites, 387M of track
  • 4000M of removal of fouled ballast and replacement of fresh ballast
  • 21 track machines, removing defects and performing maintenance activities
  • 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 10-12 August 2021. For further details


Media contact: ARTC media team 1300 196 401

Link to images here

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