Call out for two more Inland Rail contracts

The Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC) has commenced the procurement process for two more Inland Rail contracts.

Applicants are invited to submit Expressions of Interest (EOIs) for a construction contract on the Narrabri to North Star section of Inland Rail. The other EOI is for the supply and delivery of rail sleepers program-wide, for an estimated 1.44 million sleepers.

“Inland Rail is already securing jobs for regional Australians. The benefits of Inland Rail will be felt far beyond the route as businesses come on board to build this essential link in our national supply chain,” said ARTC Inland Rail Chief Executive, Richard Wankmuller.

The project expects to create 16,000 jobs when construction is fully underway. Inland Rail and the ARTC are focused on ensuring that in addition to the major construction industry jobs, local companies, businesses and job seekers will be able to participate in the different aspects of Inland Rail where they can, according to an Inland Rail statement.

“This once-in-a generation project will complete the backbone of the national freight network by providing a transit time of 24 hours or less for freight trains between Melbourne and Brisbane via regional Victoria, New South Wales and Queensland,” said Wankmuller.

Construction on the Parkes to Narromine section of the track has been underway for ten months now, and ARTC believes businesses in the area are already benefitting from the flow of work from Inland Rail. These businesses include services for concrete supply, transportation, fencing, earthmoving, drainage, electrical works, security and water bore drilling providers.

“Inland Rail construction is injecting significant dollars into local businesses and the regional economy with $41.2 million spent so far,” said Wankmuller of the Parkes to Narromine construction efforts.

ARTC hopes more such work will come from the Narrabri to North Star project, which will include upgrading around 171km of existing rail track through the reconstruction of existing track, replacement of bridges and culverts, level crossings and crossing loops.

Inland Rail’s Moree office to bolster regional community

Inland Rail will open a new office in Moree, New South Wales to support the region from Narrabri to the border of New South Wales and Queensland.

The office will complement the activities of established offices in Toowoomba, Dubbo and Wodonga, enabling regional engagement between communities and stakeholders.

Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack said that the Moree office would maximise connections to the national freight rail network, playing “an integral part” in supporting the Government’s $44 million plan to build strategic cases for improving Inland Rail.

“It’s vital that our public service understands and serves the public and what better way to do this than employ local people to work with and among local communities,” he said.

“Regional officers play a vital role in guiding and connecting local communities and industry to information, support networks, local procurement and employment opportunities.”

The Australian Rail Track Commission’s (ARTC) Inland Rail project is the largest freight rail infrastructure project in Australia. The public-private collaboration will connect Melbourne to Brisbane through the delivery of a 1,700 kilometre route via regional routes in Victoria, New South Wales and Queensland.

Minister for Regional Services, Decentralisation and Local Government and Federal Member for Parkes Mark Coulton said that the new office was reflective of the Coalition Government’s decentralisation efforts. 

“This is a great example of how a department can bring those working on government initiatives into the communities they are working to benefit,” said Coulton.

“Further, local governments in the area have indicated their support and desire to develop long-term benefits through this significant infrastructure project being delivered by the Coalition Government.”

Over 63km of track removed in first phase of Inland Rail project

The Australasian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC) has now removed over 63 kilometres of existing rail line from the Inland Rail construction in Parkes, New South Wales.

The project, a partnership between the Australian Government and private sector, is intended to upgrade the national freight network between Melbourne and Brisbane by developing regional lines across Victoria, NSW and Queensland.

The works on the section of line between Parkes and Narromine represent the first of a planned 13 Inland Rail projects encompassing over 1700 kilometres.

The track, which has been removed from the freight line between Parkes and Narromine (the P2N project), will be recycled and repurposed for Pacific National’s Intermodal Terminal in Parkes as well as other parts of the NSW rail network.

“It’s just one of the ways we keep our commitment to sustainability,” the ARTC stated in an inaugural project newsletter.

In addition to the track removal, over 100,000 cubic metres of material has been removed as a result of ongoing earthworks.

The works are being carried out by INLink, a joint venture between BMD Group and Fulton Hogan, which is focused on upgrading existing links, building new embankments and culverts, and upgrading signage, signals, level crossings and fencing.

The ARTC stated that they would install over 4000 culverts across the project in total.

Neighbouring projects include the southerly Stockinbingal to Parkes (S2P) project and northerly Narromine to Narrabri (N2N) project, which are both currently in the project feasibility stage.

The ARTC held its first community forum on the project, with two more set to follow on June 19 at the ARTC Community and Working Hub in Parkes and on June 20 at Peak Hill RSL in Peak Hill.