Possession for progression on Inland Rail project

Inland Rail is continuing to move ahead with track possession on the southern portion of the Narrabri to North Star section starting from today to allow construction of the next 57km of rail line.

A worker standing on a work crane which is operating on the Narrabri to North Star project

Inland Rail Narrabri to North Star (N2NS) Project Director Peter Borrelli said the construction within the existing rail corridor between Narrabri and Penneys Road north of Bellata would go until 31 October so that the line could be operational before the next harvest season.

“Our contractor, Trans4m Rail will focus its construction effort on the southern portion of the Narrabri to North Star section during this time, which means that over the next few months we should see Inland Rail make significant strides,” said Mr Borrelli.

“This time last year, we closed 29km of rail line between Penneys Road and Tapscott Road south of Moree and upgraded that track in time to have it reopen on 1 November for the grain harvest to minimise impacts on operators.

“We were delighted to get the first grain train on the new tracks right on schedule in 2021 and will be looking to do the same thing this year. We are committed to working with community and industry, including grain growers, traders and train operators to assess and mitigate concerns where we can.

“These track possessions are crucial in ensuring we can deliver the upgrades as efficiently and safely as possible. As part of this possession we will be rebuilding the formation to allow an improved flood immunity, constructing new bridges and drainage culverts, replacing existing sleepers and track with concrete sleepers and new steel tracks, as well as upgrading level crossings and signalling and communications equipment, among many other things.

“While freight and the XPT passenger services will be stopped during this period, we ask motorists to remain vigilant and slow down at all level crossings during the works as there will be mobile and track machinery and other movements on the rail line.”

To ensure the disruption causes minimal impacts to customers, the Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC) is working with NSW TrainLink to supply bus coaches to transfer rail passengers between Moree and Narrabri, and ensure continuity of passenger services during the construction of Inland Rail.

“We are working with NSW TrainLink who will run coaches between Moree and Narrabri to replace the passenger service. We thank people in advance for their patience as we work on this important national infrastructure.”

Since the Narrabri to North Star section of Inland Rail commenced in September 2020, 977 people have worked on the project, including 296 local residents. Businesses have also seen positive impacts with 127 local suppliers and 9 Indigenous businesses sharing in more than $79.3 million in stimulus supplying and servicing the build.

“Inland Rail means more money spent with local businesses at the same time as building an asset that will benefit the region for generations. This project is supporting jobs, creating opportunities and enhancing connectivity in the region for years to come,” said Mr Borrelli.

The possession is scheduled to run from 1 April until 31 October 2022.