Major works are set to begin at Barnawartha North as part of the Inland Rail project, including approximately 13,000m³ of soil being removed to lower the railway line, allowing double-stacked trains to pass safely underneath the Murray Valley Highway bridge. 

During the 60-hour work blitz that will close the Sydney to Melbourne line from 23-25 September, the Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC), and contractor McConnell Dowell, will lower the track by up to 2.5m before laying 800m of new rail, 800 new concrete sleepers and 2,000t of stone ballast. 

The soil removed will be used on site to construct levee banks and the remaining donated to the Wodonga TAFE driver training complex to reshape their 4WD training course. 

Vegetation mulch from the site has already been removed and donated to the Wodonga Saleyards. 

The works possession allows ARTC significant access to the rail corridor to complete a wide range of maintenance and Inland Rail works at multiple locations between Sydney and Melbourne that cannot be completed between train services. 

Inland Rail is a nation building project that will transform how goods are moved around Australia. 

In Victoria, works will be undertaken at 12 sites, including Barnawartha North, to enable double-stacked freight trains to pass safely and ensure everyday products can be delivered faster and more reliably around Australia.

The Barnawartha North project is expected to be completed by the end of 2023.

ARTC Victoria and South Australian General Manager Projects, Ed Walker, said that the 60-hour track possession is important for the construction team to complete a large volume of work in a short time.

“During the September possession we’ll also see significant construction work at Inland Rail sites in Glenrowan and Wangaratta,” Mr Walker said. 

“Beams spanning the rail corridor will be installed at Glenrowan, and the new pedestrian underpass at Wangaratta will be constructed and covered over to be completed later.”

McConnell Dowell Rail Project Superintendent, Dan Bonnitcha, said that the company is excited to be reaching a critical stage of the Inland Rail project at Barnawartha North.

“The majority of the works to lower the track will happen in September and this paves the way for double-stacked freight trains in Victoria.”

Featured image: Concrete sleepers being loaded onto a truck. Image: Inland Rail.

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