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.”

Unanderra to receive accessibility upgrades

Plans for upgrades to Unanderra Station in Wollongong have been released for community consultation.

The accessibility upgrades are part of the NSW government’s Transport Access Program, which includes 470 projects completed or underway in NSW with $2 billion in funding.

“The concept design for the accessibility upgrade at Unanderra Station includes plans for three new lifts to connect the east and west sections of Berkeley Road and the station platform to the existing footbridge,” said a Transport for NSW (TfNSW) spokesperson.

“There are also plans to upgrade the Kiss and Ride on Berkeley Road with seating and improved access paths, as well as widening the existing footpath on Berkeley Road west.”

Feedback will be garnered through online forms, via phone, email, or by mail.

“It’s important for the community to have their say on this upgrade, even in these times of social distancing, so the engagement will have an online focus,” said a TfNSW spokesperson.

The feedback along with more in-depth community consultation will inform detailed design work of the station upgrades.

The design will enable access to the station for those with a disability, limited mobility, carers/parents with prams, and people travelling with luggage.

Unanderra station is on the South Coast line, which has seen patronage jump and increased demand for freight services and will be the focus of the More Trains, More Services upgrades.