Upgrades continue as ARTC fends off critics

Upgrades to rail lines in NSW continue, as the ARTC fends off criticism over Sydney to Melbourne link

By Rob McKay | September 28, 2010

Fresh from a critical ABC report yesterday on the state of repairs on the Sydney-Melbourne rail link, Australian Rail Track Corporation CEO David Marchant joined Federal Transport Minister Anthony Albanese in spruiking infrastructure work in NSW.

Albanese says 1 million concrete sleepers had started to arrive in Broken Hill for a $253 million re-sleepering project in what will be the most extensive upgrade of the 691 kilometre line between Broken Hill and Parkes since it was completed in 1927.

"From the outset, the modernisation of this piece of infrastructure has been central to our broader efforts to lift national productivity, curb harmful carbon emissions and take the pressure off the nation’s highways," Albanese says.

"In the years ahead, the demand for the transport of goods on this vital section of the network is expected to rise exponentially."

Marchant adds that the new track will "allow more freight to be transported by rail, which over time will lead to fewer trucks on our roads".

Meanwhile, a new passing loop at Milvale near Cootamundra including a new 1,850 metre siding, along with the extension of four existing loop on the line between Crystal Brook in South Australia and Cootamundra, has been finished.

Last night, ABC TV’s 7.30 Report featured criticism from the Rail, Bus and Tram Union and anonymous train drivers who alleged substandard recent repairs and dangerous faults with ballast beyond what the ARTC admitted.

The ARTC rejected the criticism, pointing to a Worley Parsons report backing the line as safe under reduced speeds.

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