Aug 14, 2009

Economic Stimulus: $28 million Hunter track upgrade complete

Economic Stimulus: $28 million Hunter track upgrade complete

The Hon Anthony Albanese MP

The Minister for Infrastructure, Transport,

Regional Development and Local Government

Leader of the House

Member for Grayndler

August 14 2009

The $28 million duplication of the rail line between St Helier and Muswellbrook is now complete.

Anthony Albanese, Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development said this key link was part of the Rudd Labor Government’s $7.9 billion plan to modernise the nation’s rail network, with $580 million invested in the Hunter Valley.

“The St Helier to Muswellbrook upgrade created about 50 jobs and duplicated two kilometres of track extending south east of Muswellbrook.

“Trains will be able to use the new section of the track immediately – starting today – to deliver Hunter Valley goods and products to export markets worldwide.

“It will improve productivity and reliability on this important rail line during the global recession by increasing the number of train paths carrying goods to the port.

“I congratulate the Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC) for putting the Rudd Government’s Economic Stimulus Plan to work creating jobs today and upgrading the nation’s rail infrastructure for the future.

“The Rudd Labor Government will invest more in rail over the next 12 months than our predecessors did during their 12 years in office,” Mr Albanese said.

ARTC CEO David Marchant explained that increasing capacity on the rail line is essential for keeping ahead of market demand.

“The ongoing upgrade of the corridor with new signals, passing loops and bridge replacements is part of ARTC’s strategy to stay ahead of future export capacity.

“The Australian Government’s $580 million injection is being complemented by ARTC bringing our total investment in the Hunter Valley rail network to $1.2 billion.

“The St Helier to Muswellbrook project included construction of three ‘under-bridges’, track realignment at the Muswellbrook Yard and bi-directional signalling.

“This investment will more than double the amount of freight being transported to export markets from 97 to 200 million tonnes per year.

“The duplication of the track between Muswellbrook and St Helier is another stepping stone in ARTC’s overall programme of capacity building works.”