11 September 2018 – The national Inland Rail project received a major boost last week with both the Australian and New South Wales Governments approving the ARTC’s plans for the Parkes to Narromine section.
With the final approval for these works under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act provided by the Department of the Environment and Energy, the ARTC will now begin work to upgrade the 104 kilometres of track between the two regional centres.
The announcement comes after construction contracts were granted earlier this year for the section which at the time it was reported would require 600 tonnes of steel from South Australia’s Whyalla works and 200,000 concrete sleepers from Mittagong in New South Wales. While locally, Parkes based companies Calvani Crushing and Ausrock Quarries have since won contracts worth $7 million to supply materials.
Speaking on the announcement, Deputy Prime Minister, Nationals’ Leader and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development Michael McCormack said, “Today is another vital step in making our Inland Rail vision a reality and I am excited for the first section of Inland Rail construction to commence, with $9.3 billion in Federal Government investment,”
“Communities across regional Victoria, New South Wales and Queensland will see the benefit of better access to markets at home and overseas, as well as ensuring Australia meets the challenge of our freight task which is set to double.”
According to an ARTC statement on the approvals, the 104 kilometre Inland Rail section from Parkes to Narromine will utilise most of the existing rail corridor that is already operated by ARTC as part of its interstate rail freight network and a newly built 5.3 kilometre long rail connection to the Broken Hill line to the west of Parkes. Construction work will involve track formation, upgrading the track and culverts as well as providing additional flexibility through three new crossing loops at Goonumbla, Peak Hill and Timjelly.