Design contractor for first tranche of Inland Rail Victoria appointed

The nation-building Inland Rail project is continuing to take shape, creating more jobs and economic opportunities in regional communities while improving Australia’s freight network.

Image of track workers in PPE operating machinery on the rail track

The nation-building Inland Rail project is continuing to take shape, creating more jobs and economic opportunities in regional communities while improving Australia’s freight network.

The Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC) has engaged McConnell Dowell to complete the first phase of designs and early delivery activities for Inland Rail in Victoria.

The $16.4 million contract includes design and preparatory works at four sites on the existing North East Rail Line to enable Inland Rail double-stacked freight trains to run between Beveridge and Albury.

Inland Rail is transforming the fortunes of regional Australia. In Victoria, the project is expected to support hundreds of jobs, and provide an $8 billion boost in Gross State Product from construction and direct operation of the rail line.

McConnell Dowell will conduct site investigations to inform the preliminary and detailed designs for utilities, signaling, track slews and the update of rail structures at the Seymour-Avenel Road bridge in Seymour, Murray Valley Highway in Barnawartha North, Wangaratta Station Precinct, Wangaratta and Beaconsfield Parade precinct in Glenrowan.

ARTC Inland Rail Interim Chief Executive Rebecca Pickering congratulated McConnell Dowell on being awarded the contract and said bringing them on board was a crucial step for Australia’s largest infrastructure project.

“This is a significant milestone in the delivery of this important project,” Mrs Pickering said.

“It shows that the Australian Rail Track Corporation is getting on with delivering Inland Rail and bringing the Australian Government’s vision of the project to life.

“We’ve selected McConnell Dowell based on their experience delivering major projects including multi-million rail, bridges, railway stations and roads both in Australia and New Zealand, and globally.”

Mrs Pickering said construction will start mid-next year, after all planning approvals have been received.

“McConnell Dowell and their main design subcontractor Aurecon will now oversee the detailed design of new bridges, train station modifications and track lowering at these initial sites in Victoria, while we await planning, heritage and environmental approvals,” she said.

“They will also be undertaking early delivery activities to get ready for construction, which includes minor civil works, overhead wiring and signal gantry installation for the sites.

“ARTC remains committed to meaningful and respectful consultation with the communities in North East Victoria as we continue through this phase of early delivery activities.

“McConnell Dowell will now begin progressing detailed design for these sites in early 2022, which will include further consultation by ARTC with the community and stakeholders for the tranche one sites.

“ARTC will also continue to work through the heritage permit approval process for Glenrowan, before the community has the opportunity to make a submission through a consultation process conducted by Heritage Victoria.”

Project Director for McConnell Dowell Harriet Christopherson said the company was thrilled to be part of Inland Rail.

“Working collaboratively with ARTC and Aurecon has been hugely beneficial, helping develop innovative design solutions and create better value for money for this important section of the Inland Rail project,” she said.

“As we complete the designs and prepare for construction, we’ll be looking for every opportunity to involve local people and businesses in the project, to maximise the economic and social benefits for communities along the route.”