Tamworth

Work begins on Tamworth Intermodal Rail Line

Work has begun on the Tamworth Intermodal Rail Line, with the first sod turned on May 5.

The work involves rehabilitating the West Tamworth to Barraba Rail Line, which will allow for the construction of an intermodal terminal on the edge of Tamworth that is connected to the main North-South rail line running from Tamworth to Armidale and south to Sydney and Port Botany.

According to Member for Tamworth Kevin Anderson, the construction work includes rebuilding six kilometres of track, a level crossing, bridge and signalling work, service relocations, and drainage improvements.

“The work will be completed on behalf of Transport for NSW by John Holland Rail, and includes early procurement of rail and sleepers, installing fencing at selected locations along the rail corridor and removing redundant infrastructure such as existing rail and sleepers,” he said.

The announcement that work has begun follows years of waiting for those in the New England region, since $7.4 million in funding from the NSW was confirmed in November 2017. The hope is that by re-opening the rail line, producers in the region will have freight rail access to Port Botany, said Minister for Regional Transport and Roads Paul Toole.

“Reactivation of the non-operational rail line between West Tamworth and Westdale will facilitate freight train services to the Tamworth Regional Freight Terminal, opening the gateway with direct rail access to vessels at Port Botany.”

Once complete, the rail line and intermodal terminal will form part of a logistics hub next to the Tamworth regional airport, which is tipped to be an airfreight hub for agricultural produce.

“The NSW Government is committed to moving more freight via rail and is investing in the rail freight network to increase capacity and meet future demand,” said Toole.

“The train line is expected to start operating next year which will also help to support ongoing employment in the region.”

Investigation work was completed last year, and work will maximise the use of rail infrastructure already present, said Anderson.

“The plan to deliver the Tamworth Intermodal Rail Line involves making the most of the existing infrastructure, which will provide a significant cost saving, and minimise the frequency of trains crossing Denison Street, reducing the impact on local traffic.”

North East Rail Line upgrade continuing

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.

North East Line to be shut down for major works

The first 60-hour track closedown will occur this weekend on the North East Rail Line in Victoria.

From 6am, Saturday, March 14 to 6pm, Monday, March 16, 200 works will contribute to more than 12 projects along the line.

Known as a “possession” period, the work will be delivered by major contractor John Holland. A project office has been established by John Holland in Wangaratta, where 100 people are working full time.

An important focus of the $235 million North East Rail line, being carried out by the Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC) is engaging with local businesses in the regions the rail line passes through, said ARTC general manager projects Victoria, Ed Walker.

“A key focus of the North East Rail Line upgrade is to ensure regional centres in North East Victoria directly benefit and more than 18 local businesses are already contracted to work on the multi-million-dollar project,” he said.

This focus has led to local contractors being able to invest in their business. Seymour-based contractor, Tenex Rail have bought new railway maintenance machines, and invest in their workforce, having been part of the North East Rail Line project since 2019. The company has invested almost $1 million since beginning work on the project.

Due to the work on the line, coaches will replace Albury line trains for the entire journey from Saturday, March 14, to Monday, March 16.

Works around Seymour and Wallan will require the closure of level crossings in these areas and Walker cautioned residents to be careful while works are being undertaken.

“While every effort will be made to minimise disruptions – we would like to thank the community for its patience with us while these essential works are being delivered.”

Work on the North East Line has been progressing since the major contract was awarded in late 2019.

Consortium for Adelaide tram network announced

Contracts for the operation of light rail services in Adelaide have been awarded to Torrens Connect.

Announced today, March 10, along with a suite of bus contracts, Torrens Connect will operate Adelaide’s tram network from July.

Torrens Connect is a joint venture between Torrens Transit, UGL Rail Services, and John Holland.

The contract for the North South network combines bus and tram services, and according to SeaLink Travel Group – owner of Torrens Transport – CEO, Clint Feuerherdt, the integration will allow for better services.

“Between high frequency services, and integrated bus and tram outcomes, we will open up new destinations on the public transport network for customers,” he said.

According to Feuerherdt, bringing the modes together will allow for innovation in service delivery.

“The new tender has allowed us to bring in our global best practice experience, matched with our local market knowledge and history, to truly create a tailored series of network improvements for Adelaide.”

Partnered in the contract is UGL Rail Services, which in addition to its work in heavy rail and metro services, has contributed to light rail in Hong Kong.

“This contract extends our light rail operations and maintenance capability alongside our Adelaide heavy rail presence. We look forward to providing a safe and quality operation for the people of Adelaide,” said UGL managing director, Jason Spears.

For partner John Holland, the contract is the first multimodal contract in the company’s history, highlighted CEO Joe Barr.

“From operating the country’s first metro train in Sydney, to Canberra’s new light rail, John Holland has a proven record of putting the customer at the centre of everything we do.”

As a result of this contract, John Holland will be one of only a few private organisations to operate trains, trams, and buses in Australia.

“The South Australian Public Transport Authority (SAPTA) has recognised our commitment to South Australians and we look forward to working with them over the coming years to deliver improvements across the network,” said John Holland’s executive general manager – rail, Steve Butcher.

The SA government and the successful contractors will deliver network improvements by the end of 2020. Consultation on the improvements will begin in April.

“In the coming weeks we will be releasing details about the bus service improvements that will benefit South Australians ahead of a consultation period we will undertake,” said SA Transport Minister, Stephan Knoll.

“Now the contracts have been signed, we can begin working with the providers to deliver the best possible bus and tram network for South Australians.”