Aug 18, 2011

Stimulus: Ulan Line upgrade completed on time & on budget

The modernisation of the Hunter Valley Rail Network is progressing on time and on budget, with the upgrade to the Ulan Line connecting Gulgong to the Port of Newcastle via Muswellbook now completed.

Federal Infrastructure and Transport Minister Anthony Albanese said funded as part of the Economic Stimulus Plan, the $57 million project has duplicated the line between Bengalla and Muswellbook as well as built four new passing loops at Bylong, Worondi, Aerosol Valley and Radio Hut.

“This is yet another rail project completed on time and on budget,” said Mr Albanese.

“The last of these upgrades to the Ulan Line the new passing loop at Bengalla involved laying almost two kilometres of new track and 3,350 concrete sleepers as well as installing mainline turnouts and the latest signalling technology.

“As well as putting up to 650 locals to work during the worst global recession in three generations, our unprecedented investment in the Hunter Valley’s rail infrastructure is building a more prosperous Australia while helping to cut carbon pollution.

“All up, the Gillard Labor Government together with the Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC) is investing $1 billion to double the capacity along the region’s rail lines, complementing the Port’s expansion.”

See attached maps for the locations of the new passing loops as well as the status of all the Hunter Valley projects.

ARTC CEO John Fullerton explained the new passing loop at Bengalla is a good example of the ongoing upgrade of the Hunter Valley rail corridor which is essential for the network to keep ahead of increasing demand for coal from the region.

“Over the next five years, demand for coal from the Hunter Valley is set to nearly double. The construction of the new passing loop at Bengalla will increase capacity on the rail network and forms part of ARTC’s strategy to keep capacity ahead of forecast increases in market demand,” said Mr Fullerton.

“Put simply, these projects are designed to help get more coal to port more efficiently.

“There is more to be done. ARTC will push forward with our development of the Hunter Valley rail corridor with new passing loops and other infrastructure upgrades.”