Work is continuing on the upgrade of the North East Rail Line, the ARTC confirmed on Friday, March 27.
While shutdowns of non-essential services to limit the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19) have affected other industries, the construction of rail infrastructure has been deemed an essential service, said Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC) general manager projects Victoria, Ed Walker.
“The freight and transport industry is an essential service– and the North East rail line is a vital transport corridor for interstate freight trains, passenger trains, steel for construction and manufacturing and for regional goods like grain.”
The ARTC has implemented measures to ensure the safety of staff and contractors undertaking the vital upgrades. Workers are practicing social distancing, increasing hygiene and health measures, delivering work in smaller groups, and avoiding non-essential travel.
“We continue to follow advice from Government and monitor and assess the situation daily. The current environment is an uncertain and challenging one for everyone and we certainly recognise the responsibilities we have to the community as we deliver this vital project work and to ensure the safe running of essential freight and passenger train services,” said Walker.
Two weeks ago, sections of the track were shutdown and handed over to contractor John Holland Rail, so that a series of projects could be completed. A similar shutdown will occur from Saturday, April 4.
“Further works will take place next weekend, from Saturday 4 April at 6pm, with bridge and track renewal work taking place at the Old Barnawartha Road, West Wodonga and High Street, Barnawartha level crossings,” said Walker.
The announcement from the ARTC follows assurances given to Rail Express last week that a number of rail infrastructure projects are continuing, including the Level Crossing Removal Project, Metronet works, and Cross River Rail construction.