Ballast Rehabilitation Program

In December 2011, the ARTC embarked on a five-year, $134 million program of work in the Sydney – Melbourne rail corridor to clean or replace ballast, improve drainage around the track and ensure the rail is in optimum condition.

With the track at high performing and sustainable levels, an enhanced annual maintenance program is now being delivered by local maintenance teams.

The program was scheduled for completion in mid-2016 and we are currently transitioning the program to a monitoring, review and assessment phase.

We remain focused on continued improvement of the network, and currently:

  • ARTC out-performs all of its lease obligations with the Victorian Government
  • Interstate freight trains are running at their best freight availability in years
  • Train reliability of NE passenger services ran above 90% for most of 2015 – a dramatic improvement on only three years earlier and consistent with other long-distance V/Line routes
  • The track quality is at a sustainable level that allows rail operators to meet their train running requirements
  • There are some isolated locations that require continued targeted maintenance attention and this is not unusual for any rail network.

Going forward:

  • The safety and reliability of the network remains paramount to ARTC
  • We want trains to run on time and it is in our interest for them to do so
  • Track defects will occur and a certain level of track defects are allowed for in the creation of train timetables. When track defects do occur, we have proven, systematic and above all, safe ways to ensure they are fixed
  • Future rail freight growth prospects in the region are promising.

The BRP is complemented by investments we have made to upgrade the basic structure of the track by replacing 1.6 million timber sleepers with concrete sleepers and by enhancing capacity through the construction of passing lanes, new signalling and new rail.

It’s also worth noting that the Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) has released its final report into the Safety of rail operations on the interstate rail line between Melbourne and Sydney.

The Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC) has welcomed the release of the final report, and you can find the ARTC’s full response to the report here:

The safety of rail operations remains the main priority for ARTC, and we are pleased to note there were no systemic safety issues identified by the ATSB.

We have provided a timeline, latest project updates and FAQs for your reference.

If you would like to know more about the track condition in your area, or if you have any questions regarding the Ballast Rehabilitation Program – please email us at


BRP Program – Correspondence
PO Box 10343
Gouger Street,
Adelaide SA 5000

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