December 2015 – June 2016

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

August 2013

Final Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) report into safety of operations on the Interstate rail line between Melbourne and Sydney released

July 2013

First eighteen months of Ballast Rehabilitation Program completed. Significant improvements in track condition and transit time improvements by rail operators

June 2012

Intensive works along Victorian section of corridor begins and a comprehensive rebuild of one kilometre of track at Cootamundra is completed

February 2012

Start of intensive works along the NSW section of the corridor begins

December 2011

Start of Ballast Rehabilitation Program with initial works on NSW side of corridor and a focus on reducing majority of temporary speed restrictions by mid-2013

November 2011

Long term rehabilitation program, amounting to a $134m investment over five years is presented for ARTC Board approval. Rehabilitation Program is peer reviewed by a number of independent experienced track maintenance engineers in December 2011

September 2011

ARTC reviews current position with respect to poor ballast condition, reviews works undertaken to date and results from that work and develops a long-term rehabilitation program along with its maintenance partners

July 2011

Accelerated maintenance works program continues until July 2011

April 2011

Re-railing of the East track commences which sees 47kg/m rail replaced with 60kg/m rail. ARTC continues shoulder ballast cleaning and sledding program

March 2011

ARTC commissions an independent consultant to review condition of Melbourne – Sydney line and report is published publicly

September 2010

Due to an increase in development of mudholes, ARTC:

  • Increases frequency of hi-rail track patrols
  • Increases the number of ‘front-of-train’ inspections
  • Undertakes an additional AK Car run in both directions to measure track geometry
  • Introduces daily patrols of areas where the track shoulder had been removed to let the track drain excess water

June 2010

An accelerated works plan is put in place, and $42m allocated to the project After heavy rain, temporary speed restrictions are applied to sections of the network ARTC commences a specific ‘mudhole’ mapping program to prioritise the issue and develop an efficient works program

Summer 2010

Track sees further heavy rains through the summer of 2010

November 2009

ARTC engages independent experts in rail engineering to review the track from Somerton to Albury and produce a report. Report confirms fouled and insufficient ballast evident in sections of the track and provides commentary on remediation methods. Later that month the consultants are asked to produce a further report to outline the required methodology to remediate the entire line from Melbourne to Sydney.

September 2009

ITSR issues improvement notice to ARTC, which requires the development and implementation of suitable standards and procedures to control the specific risk associated with mudholes

July 2009

Winter period sees extensive rainfall escalating issues with poor ballast condition

2009 – late 2011

A package of track improvements is undertaken on the North East line funded by both the Federal and State Governments (known as the North East Rail Revitalisation Project)

Works include:

  • A rail bypass and new rail station at Wodonga
  • New passing lanes, crossovers and turnouts
  • Re-signalling
  • Removal of antiquated dog spiked rail with continuously welded rail
  • Gauge conversion
  • Concrete re-sleepering of the West track
  • Upgrading local level crossings
  • New platforms at Euroa, Avenel and Violet Town Stations
  • Improvements to 32 rail bridges


Concrete sleeper insertion continues


The improvements and progress in lease negotiations results in a review of and significantly changed strategy to improve the North South corridor (Melbourne – Sydney – Brisbane)

Concrete re-sleepering starts in the Galong area, NSW with a focus on corridor between Albury and Sydney targeting the most degraded areas first


Federal Government provides additional funding of $270m which ARTC uses to install concrete sleepers on the main line between Melbourne and Sydney, and Sydney and the NSW border with Queensland


ARTC takes up lease of the interstate network in NSW, which includes Sydney to Albury line. As part of the negotiations for the NSW lease, ARTC invests $872m between Melbourne and Sydney, largely focused on the introduction of modern CTC signalling, new passing loops, rehabilitation of the main lines including targeted concrete and timber re-sleepering and catch up on legacy maintenance issues and enhanced funding for routine maintenance.

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