With trains now running on this section of track for the first time in seven months, ARTC is urging people travelling on roads between Narrabri and Moree to take extra care near the rail line and at all level crossings.
It can take a fully loaded freight train up to 1km to stop after the emergency brakes have been applied, so it is essential that drivers pay careful attention at level crossings.
The good news for motorists and pedestrians is that the upgraded track includes a range of new safety features.
ARTC Inland Rail carried out works to construct new embankments, bridges and drainage culverts, replaced existing sleepers with concrete sleepers and laid new ballast and steel tracks.
Bulk earthworks to rebuild the track foundation were also completed to boost the flood immunity of the rail line, which proved resilient during recent inclement weather in the region.
In addition, safety has been enhanced at 57 level crossings along the alignment to achieve compliance with current Australian and ARTC standards.
A further ten level crossings have been upgraded from passive to active controls – meaning they now have boom barriers, bells and flashing lights.
All crossings now have bigger and brighter signage, upgraded road approaches and new rubber crossing panels, which reduce the time it takes for a vehicle to traverse the level crossing.
With the line between Narrabri and Moree now open, activity on the Narrabri to North Star section of Inland Rail will focus on the completion of the final works north of Camurra, which is expected in the coming months.
Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Local Government Minister Catherine King said:
“Australia’s supply chains rely on a safe, reliable and efficient transport network to move approximately 4 billion tonnes of goods across the country each year.
“The opening of the upgraded Inland Rail track between Moree and Narrabri marks a major milestone in delivering a more efficient and connected national freight network.
“Farmers in North West New South Wales gearing up for another busy harvest year will benefit from 83km of new track on the Narrabri to North Star section of Inland Rail which will support the movement of grain to export ports on Australia’s east coast.”
Inland Rail Narrabri to North Star (N2NS) Project Director Peter Borrelli said:
“Inland Rail’s construction between Narrabri and North Star has seen approximately 281,554 sleepers laid, 4,776 culverts installed, seven new bridge structures built and 168.5km of track installed.
“This national infrastructure project has supported work for more than 1,930 people including 623 local residents.
“Local businesses are also benefiting from the more than $196 million spent on supplies and services supporting the build – including some 12 Indigenous businesses across Australia who have shared in $15.2 million invested to deliver Inland Rail in central west NSW.”
“Inland Rail means more money is being 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. With approvals expected for other Inland Rail projects in NSW in early 2023, similar supply chain benefits and local economic uplifts are expected right across the Central West.
“ARTC Inland Rail has worked very hard to have the line complete in time for the commencement of grain harvest season, and to ensure minimal interference with farming operations.
“With trains now running for the first time in over seven months, we are urging the community to make sure they take extra care near the rail line and at all level crossings – stop, look, listen and then cross.