Inland Rail leadership this week inspected ‘future proofing’ upgrade works between Parkes and Narromine.
In one of their first actions at the helm, recently appointed Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC) Inland Rail CEO Richard Wankmuller and new ARTC Chairman Warren Truss joined ARTC Managing Director John Fullerton to view bridge upgrade works at Goonumbla on Monday.
The upgrades at Goonumbla and Mickibri, took just four days to complete between April 29 and May 1.
Another bridge at Goonumbla and at Tomingley West were upgraded last month and further bridge upgrades were completed at Tomingley and Narwonah last year.
The upgrade work will support ongoing delivery of Inland Rail when construction begins on the project’s Parkes to Narromine section in the middle of 2018, following the necessary environmental approvals.
“Inland Rail is fully funded with construction poised to begin this year,” Mr Wankmuller said.
“ARTC is getting on with the job. There is significant activity happening on the ground in NSW and I was keen to see the work first-hand.”
Mr Fullerton said ARTC took advantage of planned operational rail line shutdowns to build four new concrete bridges to Inland Rail engineering standards.
The concrete bridges replace four timber top bridges that have reached their end of operational life on ARTC’s existing network.
“The concrete bridges are stronger, which will provide productivity benefits for the local rail network,” Mr Fullerton said.
“Importantly, once Inland Rail is approved and constructed, the bridges will support the longer, heavier and more efficient trains that will carry the lion’s share of domestic freight between Melbourne and Brisbane.
“One 1.8km long train with ‘double stacked’ container capacity using Inland Rail will support the movement of about 2,500 tonnes of freight in a single trip, which will slash freight costs by around 30 per cent compared to road.”
“That’s good for all Australians as it will lead to safer roads. It’s also good for Australian businesses as it boosts productivity and makes us more competitive as a nation.
“Locally, the Central West region will benefit by a $480-million injection into the economy through the Inland Rail project.