Brookfield Rail transforming MidWest rail infrastructure
Brookfield Rail is on track to deliver the largest investment project to be undertaken on Western Australia’s rail network in the last 40 years, enabling development, growth and long term sustainability in the state’s booming MidWest region.
Courtesy Brookfield Rail
The MidWest Rail Upgrade will see Brookfield Rail – manager of the only operating railway in the MidWest region – upgrade its existing infrastructure from Morawa north through Mullewa and west to Geraldton Port. This upgrade will support the significant increases in tonnages to be delivered to Geraldton Port – and ultimately the proposed new deepwater Oakajee Port – by existing and future miners in the region.
Commencing in July 2011, the $550m upgrade is now more than 75% complete and is on schedule for completion later this year.
Brookfield Rail chief executive Paul Larsen told Rail Express that the upgrade represents a major strategic investment by the company in the region and will play a vital role in supporting the growth of existing and emerging miners.
“It’s a significant project for us in terms of the customer needs we are satisfying and the investments required to support those tasks,” Larsen said.
“This upgrade is completely transforming the rail network, increasing rail capacity in the MidWest from 3 million tonnes per annum (mtpa) initially to 25mtpa, and potentially well beyond 75mtpa.”
Originally designed for grain haulage over 100 years ago, Brookfield Rail has replaced the entire main line and the new rail structure comprising of concrete dual gauge sleepers and up to 60 kilogram per metre rail, will have a minimum of 21 tonne axle load at narrow gauge.
With the size and scale of the project, a number of activities have been involved, including extensive earthworks, building of new formations, construction and installation of seven new passing loops, extension of two passing loops, replacement of two bridges, structural work to the historic bridge at Eradu, construction of a number of new culverts, rebuilding of both Narngulu and Mullewa Yards and works at Geraldton Port.
A new computer based, centralised train control (CTC) system is being installed on the section between Geraldton Port and Mullewa and the existing train order system has been upgraded on the section between Mullewa and Tilley; both upgrades are designed to improve safety and increase capacity on the network.
At the peak of the construction period, there were around 500 people working on the MidWest Rail Upgrade and the project recently surpassed one million man hours worked on the upgrade.
Where possible, Brookfield Rail and its contractors have endeavoured to source goods and services from local businesses in the MidWest region, providing employment opportunities, generating economic growth and supporting local communities.
“We recognise that we are part of the communities in which the company operates and we place a strong emphasis on actively participating in the MidWest community,” Larsen said.
With the upgrade on schedule to be completed later this year, the rail network is set to become the backbone for future growth in the region, providing a robust, safe and sustainable means of freight transport, now and well into the future.
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