AusRAIL, Market Sectors

ARTC signs alliance partner for $200m Sydney-Brisbane rail works

<p>A joint venture between Barclay Mowlem and Balfour Beatty will tackle more than $200m worth of upgrades to the worst performing sector of the Australian Rail Track Corporation’s interstate network &#8211 the track between Sydney and Brisbane.</p> <p>The work &#8211 ARTC’s third alliance arrangement for its $1.4bn network program &#8211 will slash transit times for 1,500-metre superfreighters from 19 hr 22 min to 15 hr 30 min, ARTC chief executive David Marchant said.</p> <p>It will also improve reliability on the sector from its historical 45% to around 95% &#8211 which means services arriving within 15 minutes of its scheduled time, Mr Marchant said.</p> <p>One of the most important changes for the freight industry will be the ability to consistently run trains of 1,500 metres in length.</p> <p>Although some 1,500 metre trains can presently run on the sector, the lack of passing loops and other limitations meant most trains were in the 700-900 metre range, he said.</p> <p>"That’s not economic," Mr Marchant said. "Historically, it’s [Sydney-Brisbane&#93 the worst performing part of the network."</p> <p>Low average speeds of about 30-40 km&#47h have also been a key factor in the route’s poor performance and ARTC is confident average train speed can be raised to 80 km&#47h with top speeds of around 110 km&#47h.</p> <p>Barclay Mowlem managing director David Hudson said ARTC should be congratulated taking on the task of rebuilding rail freight.</p> <p>"I think it’s a nation-building task," he said.</p> <p>The alliance arrangement was an important step for a project of this scale as it would enable the best use of resources in an environment where skills shortages was an issue.</p> <p>The works Barclay Mowlem and Balfour Beatty will undertake includes:</p> <p>&#8226 Fifteen new 1,500-metre crossing loops</p> <p>&#8226 Upgrading 18 existing crossing loops </p> <p>&#8226 Concrete sleeper installation on tighter curves </p> <p>&#8226 Level crossing and bridge upgrades and </p> <p>&#8226 Rail condition improvements to minimise maintenance costs.</p> <p>The work will start this quarter and should be complete by late 2008.</p> <br />