Super possession to enable maintenance on regional NSW lines

Major rail works will be carried out during a possession of NSW regional lines from Saturday, September 5 to Monday, September 7.

The Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC) will be conducting the works, which include rail maintenance and enhancement works from Albury to Moss Vale and Cootamundra to Parkes.

Known as the annual ‘super possession’, the rail lines in both regions will be shut down over the weekend for yearly maintenance work.

ARTC general manager of asset management – interstate Brian Green described the works that would take place.

“This year’s works include track re-railing, resurfacing and reconditioning, as well as level crossing upgrades, track ballasting, turnout maintenance and bridge maintenance,” he said.

Preparatory works have been underway since August 29 and demobilisation is expected to continue until September 11.

Green said that ARTC works to ensure that as much is done as possible during the shutdown period.

“ARTC makes the most of these short windows to carry out jobs in a planned approach that minimises the impact of major works on train operations and reduces the potential for unplanned downtime on these sections of the rail corridor.”

Passenger services are being replaced by coaches and those in the community are advised to be aware of extra vehicles.

“Our work teams will endeavour to minimise any noise and disruptions the works may cause,” said Green.

“We also ask people in communities close to the rail corridor to be cautious during the shutdown period and keep an eye out for increased vehicle movements in and out of work sites.”

Extra measures are also in place to limit the chance of any spread of COVID-19.

“COVID-19 requires ongoing vigilance in many aspects. The health and safety throughout the works is of critical importance so we have ongoing strict hygiene protocols in place to minimise potential risks to the community and the teams involved in the maintenance shutdown,” said Green.

“All of the combined frontline teams continue to practice social distancing and minimising interactions with the local community. For example, where we previously we would have door knocked to inform nearby neighbours of the upcoming works, we will do a letterbox drop of information flyers instead.”

Circular Quay

Feedback sought on new train station at Circular Quay

The NSW government is seeking community feedback on a redesigned Circular Quay, including a new train station.

Community input is being sought as part of the Circular Quay renewal project, which is currently in the design and planning phase.

Transport for NSW (TfNSW) is leading the project and has shortlisted two consortia to develop the early design ideas. CQC Partners is led by Lendlease and its public private partnership arm Capella Capital. Plenary Group has tipped John Holland as its construction contractor.

A TfNSW spokesperson said that the redevelopment of Circular Quay will amount to a wholescale renewal.

“There will be a reimagining of its public spaces, new ferry wharves and an upgraded train station which will see this area become a place that all Sydneysiders can be proud of.”

In addition to public input, TfNSW is also current in early stages of consultation with local stakeholders. Six principles have been identified to guide the redevelopment, including the area’s flow, effectiveness and vitality.

Future demand for daily transport and the capacity to handle major events will be part of the precinct’s design. The interchange is expected to handle a 40 per cent increase in visits by 2041.

“Circular Quay needs generous spaces for the 15 million visitors and 64 million public and active transport trips; not to mention the enormous crowds that flock to events like Vivid and the New Year’s Eve fireworks each year,” said the TfNSW spokesperson.

Plans for the $200 million upgrade of the area have been underway since 2015 and was originally planned to have begun construction in 2019. The project is now expected to break ground in 2023.

The elevated rail line at Circular Quay and the Bradfield Expressway, which sits above it, has long been a target for renewal. Proposals to lower the rail line or turn the expressway into a high-line style park have been raised in the past. In the current renewal plan major changes to the road and rail corridor are not expected.