Two New South Wales sections of the Inland Rail project have been declared essential for the state based on economic, social and environmental reasons.
Federal infrastructure and transport minister Darren Chester welcomed the news this week that the Parkes to Narromine and Narrabri to North Star sections of the Inland Rail project had been formally declared as Critical State Significant Infrastructure by the NSW Department of Planning.
“This announcement is a reflection of why the Australian Government is committed to the delivery of the Inland Rail project,” Chester said. “It will support thousands of jobs during construction and improve access to domestic and international markets.”
Federal member for Parkes Mark Coulton said Inland Rail, which will build a high capacity freight railway between Melbourne and Brisbane, would benefit the state through improved reliability of freight rail transport, improved service standards and lower freight costs.
“Truck volumes and road congestion on some of the state’s busiest highways, including the Newell, will also be reduced which will also lead to improved road safety,” Coulton said.
“We’ll also see a real boost in opportunities for businesses throughout regional New South Wales, with western New South Wales set to be a real winner in terms of economic spinoffs, which is great news in terms of local jobs growth.
“I am delighted this announcement has been made. It sets the stage for further activity, with work expected to start in the New Year on the Parkes to Narromine section of the project, and planning work for the Narrabri to North Star section of the line progressing well.”
The Parkes to Narromine section of Inland Rail covers 107 kilometres, but includes the construction of just 6 kilometres of new railway. Existing track will be upgraded; sleepers will be replaced, some tight curves will be minimised, the rail foundation will be raised, and culverts and bridges will be upgraded and replaced along the route.
Narrabri to North Star covers 185 kilometres of track. 182 kilometres of existing track will be reconstructed, while 3 kilometres of track will be built new. The section also includes level crossing works, the replacement of bridges and culverts, the construction of new passing loops, and minor track alignment changes.