The Federal Government will invest $44.7 million in the Australian Rail Track Corporation’s 35km upgrade of the Narrabri to Turrawan Line between the Hunter Valley Coal Network and Inland Rail. 

The project will deliver a corridor from Northern NSW to the Port of Newcastle capable of 25 Tonne Axle Load (TAL) trains at 80km/h. Currently the 35km section of track is only capable of accommodating 20.5TAL and comprises steel and timber sleepers, aging 47kg/m rail for most of the line and poor track geometry, formation and ballast in some locations, resulting in limitations on its capability.

The upgrade represents a significant benefit to agricultural producers transporting grain, cotton and other primary products from Northern NSW to domestic and export markets, as well as the opportunity to back-haul materials, supplies and agricultural inputs into the region more efficiently and cost-effectively.

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development, Michael McCormack, said, “We are investing in this project to greatly improve the quality and capacity of this crucial rail connection, better linking northern New South Wales, Inland Rail and the Port of Newcastle.

“This upgrade will allow longer and heavier freight trains from Northern NSW – transporting food and fibre – to access the Newcastle and Sydney Ports.

“Greater volumes of freight moved on each train will reduce transport costs and make Australian exports more competitive.”

The project will see the steel and timber sleepers replaced with heavy-duty concrete ones, as well as upgrading critical level crossings and improving the rail quality on the Narrabri Coal Junction to Turrawan and the Turrawan to Narrabri North sections.

“Our strong investments in region-defining rail projects such as this are all about getting our farmers’ world-leading produce to market,” Mr McCormack said.

“The Australian Government remains focused on creating jobs, backing businesses and driving our nation’s economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic by continuing to get funding flowing and shovels in the ground on road and rail projects under our record $110 billion infrastructure plan.

“This project will do that by fostering further economic growth, delivering the confidence producers and businesses need to expand and diversify, creating jobs and encouraging local investment to provide an ongoing boost to local communities and the economy.”

Federal Member for Parkes and Minister for Regional Health, Regional Communications and Local Government, Mark Coulton, said the project will enhance the region’s supply chain and support local industries.

“The new load specifications are directly compatible with Inland Rail, meaning the Narrabri to Turrawan Line upgrade will provide a boost for the local farming community and other businesses using the rail line,” Mr Coulton said.

“I’m proud to be part of a government that is investing in regional communities and creating the environment for regions to grow and prosper, including the North West.”

The Australian Logistics Council (ALC) welcomed the investment, stating that “supply chains have never been more important to communities”.

Kirk Coningham, CEO of ALC, said, “Investment in infrastructure combined with a collaborative approach with industry to planning for preservation of freight lands and corridors are key to a successful and functioning future economy.  

“Providing clarity and security of the pipeline encourages investment. We applaud the Government for committing to this plan.”

The project will commence in mid-2021 and aims to be completed in 2023.

1 Comment
  1. Rod Pomroy 2 weeks ago

    Was the photograph supplied by the Federal Government for this press release as it appears to be narrow gauge track with 25KVA overhead wiring in Central Queensland. Nowhere near Narrabri. None of the Hunter Valley lines have overhead traction power

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