Re-railing projects improving freight productivity and commuter reliability

Two re-railing projects being carried out by the Australian Rail Track Corporation are almost complete, ensuring a smoother ride for passengers and a more reliable freight network.

A $40 million project to re-railing the line between Goulburn and Sydney through the Southern Highlands is almost complete, while a $252m re-railing of the line between Adelaide and Tarcoola almost finalised.

Both projects used Australian-made steel from Whyalla in the manufacturing of the rails.

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development Michael McCormack said the benefits of the project from Goulburn to Sydney would be welcomed by businesses and passengers.

“The ARTC’s re-railing project has made improvements along the Southern Highlands line, meaning commuters and freight will have more reliable, better-quality journeys,” he said.

“This will provide a welcome productivity boost for our national supply chain at a time when it’s needed more than ever, particularly for the Australian businesses using the rail line to get their products to markets.”

The $28m Stage 2 of the project will be going to tender in the coming weeks.

The line from Goulburn to Sydney is part of the national freight route linking Melbourne and Brisbane, via Sydney.

The section of rail from Adelaide to Tarcoola is also an important link, tying the eastern states to Western Australia and the Northern Territory.

Finance Minister Mathias Cormann said that works on these national links were vital.

“Safe and efficient freight networks are critical to the national economy and to all Australians, particularly as our hard-working freight operators continue to deliver our Australian goods to consumers and international markets,” he said.

On the Adelaide to Tarcoola section, all that remains of the project is the replacement of the old timber sleepers with concrete ones, with a final contract for this element of the project expected to be awarded this month.

Once complete, heavier interstate freight trains will be able to operate faster over the section of track. Moving from 47-kilogram per metre rail to 60-kilogram per metre rail will allow for 25 tonne axle load limits.

In total, for the 600 kilometres of track 70,000 tonnes of steel was needed, requiring 38,000 welds at the Port Augusta depot and almost 10,000 welds in the field. 3.5 million rail clips were required, along with 1.75 million rail pads. 440km of line was tamped, including 60 turnouts.

According to federal member for Grey Rowan Ramsey, the scale of the project from Adelaide to Tarcoola allowed Whyalla steel manufacturer Liberty to boost local steel manufacturing.

“The investments in staff and skills on this project ensured Liberty was able to secure further contracts with the ARTC to deliver steel rail to the Melbourne to Brisbane Inland Rail Program and the Goulburn to Sydney re-railing program.”