ARTC Inland Rail and Telstra begin delivery of telecommunications upgrades in rural NSW

The Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC) and Telstra have started work on delivering new mobile telecommunications infrastructure on the Narrabri to North Star (N2NS) section of Inland Rail, enabling rail systems operations on the network and delivering improved connectivity for rural communities in north-western New South Wales.

Aerial view of the freight train moving along the farmland, North Star, New South Wales

The $3.4 million project to enhance mobile telecommunications at four sites along the Inland Rail alignment will begin at North Star and will provide required 4G coverage for trains running on the line.

Following the commencement of construction at North Star, a new base station will be installed in Crooble, a new ‘small cell’ base station will be delivered in Croppa Creek and an existing base station in Gurley will be upgraded.

A feasibility study was carried out in 2021 to confirm the site-specific technical approach for each site.

In addition, rural communities near the Inland Rail alignment will also see the benefits as the mobile infrastructure is deployed.

The work will form a part of the legacy that Inland Rail will leave with communities on this section of the alignment, enabling them to benefit from the improvements for years to come.

As the mobile telecommunications enhancements are rolled out, Telstra will manage the ongoing operations and maintenance once the infrastructure has been delivered.

Rebecca Pickering, Acting Chief Executive Inland Rail, said:

‘ARTC Inland Rail is thrilled to work alongside Telstra to meet the operational needs of the Narrabri to North Star project, and improved telecommunications are another great outcome in the nation-building Inland Rail project.

‘A key commitment of Inland Rail is to leave a positive legacy along the rail corridor and delivering improved mobile telecommunications is just one example of how we seek to ensure regional communities benefit from this once-in-a-generation rail project’.

‘We are committed to doing what we can to benefit communities beyond freight logistics, and rail infrastructure – that includes providing additional opportunity for regional development.

‘Inland Rail is being predominantly delivered in regional Australia, meaning there is a prime opportunity for regional Australia to reap the immediate benefits that come with construction’.

‘Local communities and businesses are already seeing the benefits of Inland Rail through Phase 1 of the Narrabri to North Star Inland Rail project’.

‘As of December 2022, more than 668 local residents had worked on Inland Rail and more than $224 million had been spent with local businesses and suppliers.’

Andrew Stormont, Telstra Enterprise Channel & Network Sales Executive, said:

‘Mobile connectivity is so important in today’s world, and we know the huge benefits it can deliver for residents such as providing new business and educational opportunities and being able to connect in more places in case of emergencies.

‘Telstra is delighted to work with ARTC Inland Rail on these four projects which will deliver improved connectivity in and around North Star, Crooble, Croppa Creek and Gurley.

‘When completed in early May 2023, we expect the new mobile base station at North Star to provide improved or new 4G coverage for residents and visitors.’