Inland Rail has completed the first of its 12 projects in Victoria, which involved lowering the rail track under the Murray Valley Highway bridge at Barnawartha North to allow space for future double-stacked freight trains. 

Inland Rail and construction partner McConnell Dowell began work on the project in November 2022 and more than 125 workers contributed to lowering the track by approximately 1.4m under the highway bridge.

Located 18km west of Wodonga, the project required 400m of track to be dug up and five Olympic swimming pools of soil to be removed to allow double-stacked freight trains to pass underneath the bridge.

The bridge foundations have been reinforced, drainage installed, levee banks constructed, 6,000t of rock ballast deposited, and 800 new concrete sleepers and 800m of rail laid.

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 ensure everyday products can be delivered faster and more reliably around Australia.

Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC) Victoria and South Australia General Manager, Ed Walker, thanked the workers who delivered the project.

“One down, eleven to go in Victoria,” Mr Walker said. 

“The construction team worked tirelessly to complete the job at Barnawartha North and now the focus will move south to complete the remaining sites.

“Inland Rail is such an important project and will be instrumental in moving freight from the road to rail. 

“Once completed, each double stacked 1.8km train will remove the equivalent of 110 B-Doubles from our cities and highways.

“Moving freight on rail is not only safer but will significantly reduce our carbon emissions.”

McConnell Dowell Project Manager – Inland Rail, Tom Foley, said that this is an important milestone for the Beveridge to Albury section of the project and has been years in the making.

“It’s a real thrill to be involved in a nation building project such as this and to deliver these works safely and on time for ARTC,” Mr Foley said. 

“This particular site provided many challenges to both McConnell Dowell and ARTC and to have it safely completed allows both teams to concentrate on the remaining sites in the second half of our construction program.”

Featured image: SCT freight train travels on the lowered tracks under the Murray Valley Highway at Barnawartha North, Victoria. Image credit: ARTC.

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