'Resurgence of rail' full steam ahead

Government continues to pump money into rail to lift its competitiveness and share of the freight task

September 25, 2009

The "resurgence of rail" is continuing, according to the Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC), after upgrades to a vital freight line were completed three months ahead of schedule.

A new passing loop capable of improving productivity has opened on the Brisbane-Sydney-Melbourne rail corridor, leading the ARTC to claim rail is closing in on its road freight counterpart in terms of competitiveness.

Located at Mindaribba between Maitland and Dungog in New South Wales, the $13.6 million loop can now cater for trains up to 1.5km long and cut transit times from Melbourne to Sydney by almost three hours and by almost four hours between Sydney and Brisbane.

"The ARTC and the Federal Government are pushing forward with the upgrade of the Brisbane-Sydney-Melbourne corridor to make rail more competitive," ARTC Chief Executive David Marchant says.

The Mindaribba loop project included new track, two new turnouts with entry speeds of 50km/h, an overbridge and the installation of the latest signalling technology.

As well as increasing productivity, the upgrade will also help trains pass each other more safely and efficiently.

Federal Minister for Infrastructure and Transport Anthony Albanese says government investment in rail is vital to securing Australia’s long term prosperity.

Marchant says the new passing loop at Mindaribba complements the other recently constructed loops at Dungog, Nana Glen, Tamrookum and Greenbank.

He says the loop is an important milestone, but is only one part of the the work being carried out on the rail corridor.

"The work currently underway on this vital rail corridor is part of the biggest rail project to be initiated since the track was originally laid more than a century ago," he says.

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