The $20 million contract to supply the steel rail for the first section Melbourne to Brisbane Inland Rail project has been awarded.

Minister for Infrastructure and Transport, Darren Chester, said the contract was significant with Australian produced steel rail to provide a direct investment to the national economy and secure Australian jobs.

“Liberty OneSteel Whyalla Steelworks will soon start rolling the approximately 14,000 tonnes of steel rail required for the Parkes to Narromine section of the Inland Rail,” Mr Chester said.

“This order is the first of approximately 262,000 tonnes of steel rail needed to build Inland Rail — which is equivalent to five Sydney Harbour Bridges.”

Minister for Finance, Mathias Cormann, said the contract was worth up to $20 million and Liberty OneSteel will be producing the rail required for the entire length of the Parkes to Narromine section.

“This project will allow more freight to move by rail, providing benefits to motorists by reducing the number of heavy vehicles on our road network,” Mr Cormann said.

“Inland Rail will complete the spine of the national freight network between Melbourne and Brisbane, and allow a transit time of less than 24 hours.”

The steel rail is 60km of steel per metre, which will accommodate double-stack trains up to 1,800m in length, travelling at 115kph, with up to 30 tonne axle load.

The Parkes to Narromine section has been declared critical infrastructure for NSW, and the entire project a priority project by Infrastructure Australia.

The NSW Department of Planning and Environment is currently considering ARTC’s Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) and responses to public submissions received about the EIS. Construction works will commence once all necessary approvals have been received.

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