ARTC completes $28m Hunter Valley track upgrade

New St Helier-Muswellbrook line will see export freight increase from 97 to 200 million tonnes annually

The Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC) has used Federal stimulus funds to create a link between St Helier and Muswellbrook on the Hunter Valley rail line, a move which will see export freight on the track increase from 97 to 200 million tonnes per year.

The upgrade, which included the installation of new signals, passing loops, bridge replacements, the construction of three "under bridges", and track realignment, cost $28 million.

According to Minister for Infrastructure Anthony Albanese the new track will be usable immediately and was good news for the Australian economy.

"Trains will be able to use the new section of the track immediately - starting today - to deliver Hunter Valley goods and products to export markets worldwide," Albanese says.

"It will improve productivity and reliability on this important rail line during the global recession by increasing the number of train paths carrying goods to the port."

ARTC CEO David Marchant says the upgrade was a "stepping stone" in his organisation's overall program of capacity building works.

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