Jun 22, 2012

Nation Building Rail Upgrade Nearing Completion

A major component of the largest, most extensive upgrade of the nation’s Interstate Rail Network in almost a century has entered the home straight with the replacement of the old timber sleepers with 3.4 million new Australian-made concrete sleepers to be completed within weeks.

Federal Infrastructure and Transport Minister Anthony Albanese today marked this significant milestone by joining the project team working to complete the Broken Hill to Parkes section and helping to ‘clip in’ one of the new sleepers.

“I would particularly like to acknowledge the hundreds of workers who have been involved in this important nation building endeavour.  Thanks to their expertise and hard work the entire re-sleepering program will be completed on time and on budget,” said Mr Albanese.

“Funded in part by our successful Economic Stimulus Plan and manufactured by Austrak in Wagga and Rocla in Braemar and Grafton, the new sleepers will increase the Network’s capacity and reliability, allowing it to carry bigger trains at faster speeds including during the hotter summer months.

“All up, we are currently rebuilding and modernising more than a third of the nation’s 10,000 kilometre Interstate Rail Network.  Our aim here is simple: we want more freight on the back of trains.  This would not only take the pressure off our highways, but also reduce harmful carbon emissions and boost national productivity.

ARTC Acting CEO Andrew Bishop said the upgrade of the 691 kilometre line between Broken Hill and Parkes, delivered in alliance with Transfield Services, was an excellent example of how modernising the rail freight network brings benefits to the local and national economies.

“This investment in the rail network will deliver a safer more reliable track, but has also supported the local economy by utilising local and indigenous labour, as well as regional contractors and suppliers,” said Mr Bishop.

“The project has also up-skilled a number of local workers new to the industry to a Certificate III in Rail Infrastructure.

“The local economy has benefited from the project and so too will our customers.  For the busy Sydney to Perth freight route, a more reliable track with less down time for maintenance or weather induced speed restrictions is great news.”

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