Tasmanian rail freight lines get upgrade green light

Melba and Western lines to begin work next month after tender was awarded

Tasmanian rail freight lines get upgrade green light
Modernisation boost for Tasmanian rail infrastructure.


Track works on the Melba and Western lines will be carried out by VEC Civil Engineering after it was awarded the biggest tender of the $119.6 million Tasmanian Freight Rail Revitalisation Project.

The project, which seeks to secure the rail operations in Tasmania, has been funded by both the federal and Tasmanian governments, who each committed $59.8 million.

"Works as part of the Freight Rail Revitalisation are taking place on the rail network across the state, helping to ensure safe, reliable and environmentally responsible freight solutions are available in Tasmania for years to come," infrastructure minister Warren Truss says.

For the Melba and Western lines, the work will entail re-sleepering, re-railing, and other upgrade works, federal member for Bass Andrew Nikolic says.

"VEC Civil Engineering Pty Ltd will be responsible for laying around 48,000 sleepers and 30 kilometres of rail, while maintaining timetabled rail traffic during construction," Nikolic says.

Industries reliant on rail will see improvements from the lines’ capacity and reliability upgrades, federal member for Lyons Eric Hutchinson says.

"In particular, 'high tonnage' industries will be better able to compete in international and interstate trade and commerce," Hutchinson says.

"This includes the cement and paper industries, where large volumes must be transported to port, almost continually."

Also backed by federal member for Braddon Brett Whiteley and Tasmanian minister for infrastructure Rene Hidding, the upgrades, which begin next month and are expected to be completed by mid-2017.

"This project will reduce the operational costs of freight movements by providing additional rail capacity, improved reliability and reduced transit times," Hidding says.

"They will also help to reduce derailments."


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