Freight Rail, Major Projects & Infrastructure, Operations & Maintenance, Passenger Rail, Rollingstock & Manufacturing, Track & Civil Construction

Inland Rail corridor opens in time for harvest

Inland Rail is on track in North West NSW, with priority construction work on about 29 kilometres of track between Bellata and Moree on the Narrabri to North Star (N2NS) section completed in time for another bumper grain harvest in the region. 

Acting Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce announced the re-opening of the rail corridor, to be operational for both passenger and freight trains, at GrainCorp’s Moree Receival Site 

“Inland Rail’s construction south of Moree has been carefully planned and accelerated to support grain movements during harvest season – allowing industry to move product and access markets while we build the corridor of commerce that can meet future freight demands,” he said. 

An excellent growing season and higher prices for cereal grains, cotton and oilseeds has contributed to Australia’s record agricultural exports forecast at $54.7 billion in 2021-22, focusing the need for efficient and cost effective freight to ports for primary producers. 

Several grain handlers will be operating over the N2NS section from Moree to southern destinations, delivering agricultural commodities for companies like CHS Broadbent, GrainCorp, Louis Dreyfus Commodities and Arrow who will predominantly export to the Ports of Newcastle and Botany. Other operators like Manildra Grain will recommence the freight of bulk grain to domestic destinations on the rail network as far south as Bomaderry and Nowra. 

Graincorp CEO Robert Spurway said that this milestone was critically important to growers and the region’s economy. 

“Rail infrastructure is crucial in providing secure access to port for growers to market their valuable grain, so we’re pleased to have worked directly with the ARTC and Inland Rail project groups to ensure minimal disruptions to the supply chain at harvest,” he said. 

“Our focus remains on delivering for growers and getting their grain to market as quickly as possible, and we welcome the Federal Government’s efforts to support growers for what we hope will be many more bumper seasons to come.” 

Currently, the average grain train carries about 3000 tonnes. With the completion of each section of Inland Rail track, regional producers and industry will have access to the enhanced rail capability that enables trains to carry longer and heavier loads. 

Inland Rail is already delivering an economic uplift to the North West region. To date, during construction, a total of $32.3 million has been spent with 116 local businesses that have supplied the project, while more than 200 local residents have worked on N2NS. 

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