10,000 steel welds to create new track have been completed on the Adelaide-Tarcoola Rail Upgrade Acceleration project in South Australia.
Fully-funded by the federal government, the $252 million project is upgrading approximately 600 kilometres of track on the interstate network between Adelaide and Tarcoola, which is used for intermodal freight traffic to and from Western Australia and heavy minerals rail freight.
The new track will support an increase in rail size along the line from 47 kilograms per metre to 60 kilograms per metre and an increase in axle loads from 23 tonnes to 25 tonnes, improvements that are expected to increase productivity for services that use the line, as they allow the operation of heavier freight trains moving at higher speeds.
“More productive trains means greater payloads and getting goods to market quicker,” federal infrastructure and transport minister Darren Chester said, commenting on the upgrade progress.
“This 10,000 weld milestone is good news for our farmers and miners competing on a global stage, and for domestic consumers who will benefit from more cost effective transport.”
Rowan Ramsey, federal Liberal member for Grey, said that providing the rail link with new steel tracks and increasing productivity was crucial to moving commodities across Australia.
“This stretch is a critical link in the national supply chain, with 80 per cent of the items transported on land between Australia’s east coast and west coast travelling by rail,” Ramsey said.
130 jobs are expected to be created over 3 year span of the project, the first of which have been employed at ARTC’s flashbutt welding facility at Spencer Junction in Port Augusta, where the 10,000 welds have been carried out.
Further jobs in construction and in project management will be created for the laying of the new track over the next few years.
The project to upgrade the Adelaide-Tarcoola rail link is expected to be completed in late 2019.