Far west rail upgrade
Friday, 21st May, 2010
The railway lines from Broken Hill to Whyalla and Parkes will get new concrete sleepers and rails that will cut travel times and permit the use of heavier trains.
The upgrade, costing $312 million, was announced in the city yesterday by the Federal Transport Minister, Anthony Albanese.
Mr Albanese said the upgrade was part of an "unprecedented" $565 million investment in rail infrastructure in Far Western NSW.
"This investment will not only greatly improve the capacity and reliability of the interstate rail network; it will deliver real jobs and inject new money into communities across the region," he said.
The $312m will allow the Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC) to re-rail the lines between Whyalla and Broken Hill, and Parkes and Broken Hill.
This will not only allow both lines to be used by heavier trains but will support 275 jobs and take about 25 months to complete, the minister said.
Replacing the old wooden sleepers on the line between Parkes and Broken Hill with one million new concrete sleepers will greatly improve its capacity as well as reduce transit times and the need for temporary speed restrictions during summer.
Replacing the wooden sleepers will cost $253 million and will support up to 370 jobs and take about 13 months to finish, Mr Albanese said.
He said he expected work on both projects to begin later this year.
The ARTC is the government-owned entity responsible for managing the nation's interstate rail network.
The Government was putting an extra $1 billion into the ARTC, bringing the total investment in this "vital piece of infrastructure" to $3.4 billion over six years, Mr Albanese said.
"Compared to our predecessors, this is twice as much in half the time - yet another example of this Government using the dividends of today's prosperity to build an even stronger and more prosperous Australia for the future."
Mr Albanese said that while the federal opposition would call it a "spending spree", the funding will provide hundreds of jobs and boost efficiency in the national rail network.