New rail loop to increase coal carrying capacity

New rail loop at Abbot Point Coal Terminal to increase capacity at the near-by port to 25 million tonnes

A new rail loop has been completed on the track at Abbot Point Coal Terminal to increase capacity at the near-by port to 25 million tonnes.

The loop track allows trains to return to port without shunting, and is part of a $1 billion expansion project to upgrade the export coal rail network to the north of the Goonyella rail system.

Queensland Rail (QR) Executive General Manager for Network Michael Carter says the works include laying track on the second balloon loop.

"These works will contribute to a short-term increase in capacity at the port up to 25 million tonnes and are part of a larger program of works aimed at increasing capacity to as much as 100 million tonnes," he says.

The second phase of works to the track is due for completion early in 2009.

"When PCQ completes the second inloader at the port in early 2009, the rail will then be laid through the inloader and it will be open for use," Carter says.

The Abbot Point project is the biggest rail investment for Queensland in 30 years, and is part of the CoalConnect project, which is an alliance of Leighton Contractors, GHD and KBR.

Coal export capacity through the collaboration is expected to increase "five-fold" from the venture.

The group will undertake the civil works of not only the Goonyella to Abbot Point Expansion Project but the Northern Missing Link and the Buckley to Newlands Upgrade.

Works are expected to be completed by 2011.

"We will have increased tonnage capacity by almost 60 percent in Queensland, with the ability to haul 261 million tonnes of coal across all networks," QR Chief Executive Lance Hockridge said in March.

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