Loram machine at night hunter valley rail maintenance

The Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC) will shut down a section of the Hunter Valley’s rail network to conduct a major maintenance operation.

The rail network between Port of Newcastle through to Narrabri and out to Ulan will close, with overnight outages on the passenger network from Islington to Maitand.

From 11–14  February, approximately 1,200 workers will conduct over 120 maintenance jobs, including:

  • Removing and replacing almost 14km of rail
  • Upgrading approximately 1.5km of track subgrade across six sites
  • Continue ongoing signal upgrade work between Islington and Sandgate
  • Routine maintenance and defect removal and various other major upgrades

ARTC will also welcome the new 120 stone Loram grinder to the Hunter Valley which will improve rail grinding performance.

ARTC Group Executive Hunter Valley, Wayne Johnson, assured residents and the community that ARTC is focused on delivering a safe maintenance shutdown.

“As days of extreme heat can have an impact on the track, such as causing signal faults, circuit breaks or track buckling due to intense heat conditions, we need to carry out this work to ensure the track remains safe, particularly in recent extreme weather conditions,” Mr Johnson said.

“We continue to also carry out spot maintenance as required, to ensure the safety and reliability of the track and limit ‘hot works’ on these days, such as welding or rail grinding to reduce risk.”

A total shutdown is required for work to be carried out as safely as possible. Similar to other recent maintenance programs, a scheduled shutdown will allow workers to access the track for maintenance and upgrades that could not be done safely when trains are running.

“The work will generally start at 6.30am on Tuesday 11 February and is expected to be completed about 6.30am on Friday 14 February.

“We thank our customers, commuters and motorists across the network for their patience while we carry out this important planned maintenance program,” Mr Johnson said.

“We remind residents to remain vigilant as there may be more vehicle movements in and out of work sites in residential areas around the work sites.”

The next major maintenance shutdown is scheduled from 1 to 3 April.

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