Construction of the Parkes to Narromine section of Inland Rail in NSW is imminent with Planning Approval granted last week following two years of environmental assessment and consultation with landowners, Councils and the broader community.
Federal and State Government project and associated approvals were crucial before construction on the section can proceed.
Inland Rail Chief Executive Officer, Richard Wankmuller said the Planning Approval is a significant milestone with the first track for Inland Rail expected to be laid later this year.
“We’re hearing from the Central West community that people are energised about the Inland Rail project and we thank them for their continued input and feedback,” Mr Wankmuller said.
“Ultimately we want to build the best possible rail line and ensure locals benefit as much as possible.”
The track between Parkes and Narromine will have steel rail manufactured at Whyalla in South Australia, with 6534 tonnes already delivered.
The first of 200,000 concrete sleepers being manufactured by Rocla in Mittagong in NSW have started arriving in preparation for construction and Parkes based companies Calvani Crushing and Ausrock Quarries have already won contracts worth $7 million to supply materials.
“We have been working closely with landowners and the community here for over two years,” Mr Wankmuller said.
“We are very grateful for the support, feedback and land access provided which aided throughout the design and environmental assessment process and continues to date. Community feedback has proven invaluable to the process.
“All the wheels are in motion for the construction phase to move forward. Just last month, industry briefings calling for expressions of interest (EOI) for work required on the route were held in Parkes, Narromine and Dubbo. We have had keen interest from the community so far with over 200 EOI registrations from local businesses”.
Two main site offices to service the project will be opened soon in Parkes and Peak Hill.
The offices will complement the recently opened Inland Rail Community Working Hub in Parkes.
The 104 kilometre Inland Rail section from Parkes to Narromine will utilise most of the existing rail corridor that is already operated by ARTC
as part of its interstate rail freight network and a newly built 5.3km long railconnection to the Broken Hill line to the west of Parkes.
Construction work will involve track formation, upgrading the track and culverts as well as providing additional flexibility through three new crossing loops at Goonumbla, Peak Hill and Timjelly.
“Central West NSW stands to benefit significantly from Inland Rail and we appreciate how important it is for people to understand the proposals and plans for their local area and we thank the community for their contribution in marking this important milestone on the project,” Mr Wankmuller said.
“ARTC has purchased five new Toyota Hilux’s from a local dealership in Parkes for site visits and community engagement,” Mr Wankmuller said.
“This is just one demonstration of the many benefits that will be delivered to a broad cross-section of the community.”
Community updates, project news and other documents prepared in accordance with the Conditions of Approval will be placed on the Inland Rail website as they become available.