Freight Rail, Major Projects & Infrastructure, Products & Technology

Inland Rail answers call to improve mobile coverage in NW NSW


A senior politician believes the Inland Rail project will also contribute to better mobile communications in parts of northern New South Wales.

A DETAILED feasibility study into improving mobile communications along the Inland Rail corridor between Narrabri and North Star has been welcomed by federal MP for Parkes, Mark Coulton.

Coulton, also the regional communications minister, said the study would confirm the site-specific technical approach, schedule and cost to improve mobile telecommunications coverage in a corridor 10-15km on either side of the Narrabri to North Star section of the Inland Rail project.

“ARTC is strengthening existing mobile telecommunications infrastructure, building on advice from the Telecommunications Working Group, community feedback, and to meet their operational requirements,” Coulton said.

“Inland Rail will require mobile telecommunications for safe working systems and rail control – these upgrades will also leave a lasting benefit for communities long after the construction is finished.

“The construction and operation of Inland Rail will be a catalyst for growth in North West NSW – creating jobs and opportunities for local businesses while boosting economic activity and generating investment.”

Coulton said they were working together to leverage the long-term benefits of Inland Rail.

ARTC Inland Rail director of planning, communications and stakeholder relations Rebecca Pickering said improved telecommunications on the Inland Rail alignment was essential to the operational needs of the Narrabri to North Star project.

“We have consulted widely within communities, and we hear the same message time and time again,” Pickering said.

“They want Inland Rail not only to deliver essential rail infrastructure, but to provide additional opportunity for regional development.”

Pickering said impacted landowners had also expressed that enhanced telecommunications could improve the safety of their farm operations near live rail lines.

“We are pleased the community will also be able to leverage this legacy benefit to enhance mobile coverage in the north of the rail alignment,” she said.

The Australian Rail Track Corporation and ARTC’s telecommunications provider Telstra is to partner to deliver the feasibility study in the northern end of the N2NS section.

Telstra regional general manager Northern NSW Michael Marom said Telstra was delighted to be working with the ARTC and the Australian Government to identify options for enhancing mobile coverage.

“We are currently conducting a detailed feasibility study for enhancing coverage along the Narrabri-North Star section of the Inland rail, and that study should be completed within the next few months,” he said.

The study is expected to be completed in June 2021 and enabling infrastructure works to commence late this year.