Work to start this week on Australia’s $6.7bn freight railway

The first tracks for Australia’s US$6.7bn Inland Rail project between Melbourne and Brisbane are to be laid on Thursday, 13 December, according to the Otago Daily Times.

The first section of the 1,700km line will be in New South Wales between the towns of Parkes and Narromine. Another 12 projects will be completed before the line opens in 2024 or 2025.

The Australian federal government and the state of New South Wales granted approvals for the construction in September.

The line is being built by the Australian government through its Australian Rail Track Corporation. Planning approval was granted after completing environmental assessment and consultation carried out with landowners, councils and other communities in NSW over a period of two years.

The initial project will consist of relaying 98km of existing track with 5.3km of new rail to be built near Parkes. It is expected to be complete by mid-2020.

A joint venture between Melbourne consulting engineer SMEC and the UK’s Arup are handling the technical and engineering advisory services contract for the project. A further six contracts for the initial environmental investigations and engineering design have been awarded to GHD, Parsons Brinkerhoff, Aecom, Arup and Jacobs.

The longest part of the Australian Rail Track Corporation project will be the 307km Narromine to Narrabri stretch, with the shortest project a 26km extension from Gowrie to Helidon in southern Queensland.

Image: The town of Narromine, New South Wales (Mattinbgn/CC BY 3.0)

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