All aboard new 29km of Inland Rail

Farmers in North West New South Wales gearing up for another bumper harvest year will benefit from a new 29km of track on the Narrabri to North Star section of Inland Rail.

train next to grain silos on new section of track between Narrabri to North Star

The Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC) today unveiled the new track as the first grain train was loaded up on the section.

ARTC Inland Rail Interim Chief Executive Rebecca Pickering said that the opening of the track marks a major milestone in the construction of the Narrabri to North Star section.

“We’re really proud to be here today and to witness the first grain train. When construction commenced around this time last year, we promised the farmers in the area that it would not interfere with farming operations over harvest.

“We have delivered to schedule despite our fair share of unprecedented challenges including record rainfall, COVID lockdowns and travel restrictions throughout construction.

“The collaboration between ARTC Inland Rail and our contracting partner Trans4m has seen approximately 29km of track upgraded, 48,012 sleepers laid and 1,118 culverts installed.”

GrainCorp CEO Robert Spurway said they’re looking forward to another strong harvest following last year’s bumper season across northern NSW, after some years of devastating drought in the area.

“Rail infrastructure is crucial in providing secure access to port for growers to market their valuable grain, so we’re pleased to have worked directly with the ARTC and Inland Rail project groups to ensure minimal disruptions to the supply chain at harvest.

“Our focus remains on delivering for growers and getting their grain to market as quickly as possible, and we welcome the Australian Government’s efforts to support growers for what we hope will be many more bumper seasons to come.”

Pacific National’s Chief Commercial Officer Andrew Thomson said as the largest hauler of bulk grain on the eastern seaboard, the company was delighted with construction of the Inland Rail.

“New and improved rail freight infrastructure along key sections of the future Inland Rail allows safer and more efficient haulage of grain from paddock to port.

“To support this season’s bumper harvest throughout New South Wales and Victoria. Pacific National will haul up to 800,000 tonnes of grain each month. Three hundred Pacific National frontline workers operating and maintaining 80 locomotives and 1,500 wagons and will run more than 30 bulk grain services every 48 hours.

“Pacific National is also currently training 100 new rail recruits to help better deliver what matters for Australia’s grain producers and regional exporters,” he said.

Construction between North Narrabri and Bellata will commence in April 2022.