ARTC to spend extra $137m on Hunter Valley upgrades

<p>The Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC) will nearly double its investment in the Hunter Valley to lift coal-carrying capacity up to 140m tonnes a year.</p> <p>ARTC chief executive David Marchant told coal and transport industry leaders in Newcastle yesterday (Tuesday, May 3) that the corporation would lift its investment from $153m to $270m.</p> <p>The additional capital expenditure is designed to increase track capacity to meet the increased coal export demand.</p> <p>"Over the next five years, our infrastructure investment will see the network more than meet demand growth, which industry has forecast to rise from the 85m tonnes this year to just on 140m tonnes by 2009," Mr Marchant said.</p> <p>Since taking over the New South Wales track lease, the ARTC had reviewed demand, capacity and consulted with the industry to produce an improvement strategy for the 452 km of track, he said.</p> <p>"Throughout the lower Hunter section of the network, we will have the ability to run trains at no more than 10 minutes apart, which will harmonise the currently uneven operations and increase efficiencies while maintaining the overall safety and integrity of the network," Mr Marchant said</p> <p>Mr Marchant told <em>Lloyd’s List DCN </em> that the capacity of the Hunter network is already running at 90m tonnes &#8211 ahead of the Port Waratah Coal Services shiploading capacity.</p> <p>The ARTC said each of its projects would "come on line progressively" and would increase the capacity of the network ahead of demand.</p> <br />