14 December 2018 – The national Inland Rail project marked an important milestone this week with construction beginning on the first 5.3kms of new rail line.
Deputy Prime Minister, Michael McCormack, was on hand to turn the ceremonial first sod alongside ARTC executives, the construction contractor INLink and other dignitaries at the site in Parkes in Central West NSW.
ARTC CEO, John Fullerton, called the start of Inland Rail construction a historic and important milestone.
“The sod-turn for Inland Rail is a significant, momentous occasion and it’s fitting to celebrate it at the site where the first greenfields section of Inland Rail will be built. When Inland Rail is operational, Parkes will be an important hub with double stacked, 1800 metre trains connecting west to Perth and Adelaide and along the east coast between Melbourne and Brisbane,” said Mr Fullerton.
“Australia’s rail system has always been essential to the freight supply chain and once built, Inland Rail will enhance the national freight rail network – creating jobs, reducing supply chain costs and making Australia more competitive by linking-in with other major infrastructure to connect cities and farms to markets; faster, safer and more efficiently,” added Mr Fullerton.
Inland Rail CEO Richard Wankmuller said Inland Rail will transform the way Australia moves freight and bring economic opportunity through a world-class supply chain.
“Inland Rail is the safe, sustainable, integrated solution that will help address Australia’s current freight inefficiencies. This new 1700km freight rail line will help capture commercial opportunities in both metropolitan and regional areas through more efficient and commercially responsive supply chains.”
“ARTC is focused on timely project delivery and with support from the government, in partnership with the private sector and hand in hand with the community, we will ensure as many of the benefits as possible from Inland Rail will flow to local regions as well as the national economy,” said Mr Wankmuller.
The ARTC says that with the Inland Rail now under construction, the benefits and jobs are being felt across the country with steel from Whyalla, concrete sleepers being fabricated in the NSW Southern Highlands, ballast coming from Parkes and culverts produced in Tamworth. Overall, ARTC expects 16,000 jobs and $16 billion dollars will be generated by the project and will stimulate business activity beyond the construction phase.
Inland Rail will include approximately 1100kms of major upgrades and enhancements to existing track and construction of approximately 600kms of new track.