Freight Rail, Major Projects & Infrastructure, Operations & Maintenance, Rollingstock & Manufacturing, Track & Civil Construction

Upgrades make Mt Isa line more resilient

A $25 million investment in the Mount Isa line will see two years’ worth of important track upgrades completed in just 20 days.

Queensland Rail regional head Jim Benstead said for the first time in its history, Queensland Rail would close the Mount Isa line for two 10-day periods to allow for 24 kilometres of track upgrades valued at $25 million, creating a more resilient path on the freight and passenger network, while providing a boost to the economy of North West Queensland communities.

“As part of this $25 million investment, 24 kilometres of track stretching from Cloncurry to Mount Isa will be replaced with new concrete sleepers and ballast as well as 10 kilometres of new rail to bolster safety and reliability on the line ahead of the busy dry season,” he said.

“The shutdown period from May 17 to 26 is the first of two 10-day closures on the line, with the second to follow from June 6 to 15.

“This is a fantastic example of industry working together. Through consultation with freight partners and end-customers, we’ve aligned rail works with major maintenance and train-free periods at the mine sites, which will deliver the best, most efficient outcome while minimising impacts to supply chains.”

Benstead said an influx of Queensland Rail staff and contractors to North West Queensland would take place to complete the works with all accommodation and hire cars booked out during the closures.

“A taskforce of more than 200 Queensland Rail employees and contractors will be staying and spending in Mount Isa and Cloncurry, which will be a great support to the many local businesses still bouncing back from the impacts of COVID.”

The Mount Isa line runs along some of the world’s largest deposits of copper, lead, zinc, silver and phosphate rock. The Queensland Government is committed to supporting supply chains and investing in the line to ensure continued safety, reliability, and uptake in rail freight.

More than 200 network maintenance staff and contractors have been enlisted from across the state to complete the works including Queensland Rail’s infrastructure renewals, track resurfacing, network structures planning, signalling systems and track maintenance planning teams.

Other critical workgroups include contracted civil plant machinery and operators, contracted ballast undercutting resources and specialised on track vehicles for mechanised sleeper renewals to bolster the Queensland Rail work force.

About 96,000 tonnes of ballast, 35,000 concrete sleepers and 10 kilometres of rail will be replaced.