Parkes' vital link: Inland Rail connection to the rest of the country complete

Trackwork near Parkes, which will form the vital link between the Inland Rail and the interstate east-west line from Sydney to Perth, is now complete.

And in just a few weeks' time, Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack said there will be even more activity at the site when there will be trains operating on the track.

Mr McCormack - along with Minister for Regional Services, Decentralisation and Local Government Mark Coulton, Inland Rail CEO Richard Wankmuller, Parkes Mayor Ken Keith OAM, Forbes Mayor Phyllis Miller and Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC) and INLink staff - inspected the completed work on the North West Connection, located near Brolgan Road and Coopers Road, on Friday morning.

It's been described as another important project milestone, an historic step.

"This is huge, this is the connection that connects to the rest of the country," Mr Wankmuller said.

"This historic link is a vital connection to the Inland Rail spine and the East-West network to Perth.

"What was a greenfield site now accommodates this significant rail connection that will be handed over in the coming weeks to become operational. In the second quarter of next year, we anticipate it will also link into the Parkes to Narromine line.

"People can start to see how Inland Rail will link into other rail networks and facilitate the movement of products more efficiently and at a lower cost, which is a boon for producers, consumers, and the Australian economy."


Mr McCormack said when the entire project is completed, Australians will see "rail connectivity in this nation like never before".

"Parkes is very geographically special being on the north, south, east, west corridor - that inter-sector, it's going to make Parkes and Forbes such an integral part of this nation-building piece of infrastructure," he said.

"[We will be transporting] freight goods to port within 24 hours, that's a first."

Mr McCormack said the project is on schedule and within budget.

Mr McCormack and Cr Keith both made mention of former Deputy Prime Minister, the late Tim Fischer, who passed away on August 21 and whose legacy "will live on through rail projects across this nation".

"[Today] coincides with the funeral of Tim Fischer yesterday, and I think he'll be looking down on this momentous occasion today with great pride in the effort he did in promoting the Inland Rail," Cr Keith said on Friday.

"We look forward to its growth and continued development so that we're able to deliver huge benefits to regional Australia over the decades to come."

The North West Connection is part of Inland Rail's Parkes to Narromine project, and Mr Wankmuller said construction on this part of the Inland Rail is continuing to provide opportunities and an economic boost for local communities.

"At the end of July, about $24.5 million had been spent with local businesses," he said.

"Around 72 local businesses have supplied to the project, about 700 people have worked on the project, of whom about 280 are local, and last month a peak daily workforce of 598 was recorded.

"Around the Central West region, the range of businesses tapping into the flow of work from Inland Rail involve concrete supply, transportation, fencing, earthmoving, drainage, electrical works, security and geotechnical services.

"Accommodation providers and the hospitality industry are also reaping the benefits, as are retail outlets, with an influx of workers living and spending locally."

ARTC would like to inform motorists there are two new train crossings as part of the North West Connection, one at Coopers Road and one at Brolgan Road. These have boom gates and flashing lights and road users should obey signage and warning signals.