Major freight rail network project is ahead of schedule in Queensland

QR National is on track to complete a major $195 million capital project six months ahead of schedule after achieving an important project milestone.

The Blackwater Power Project, which will nearly double the electrical capacity on the Blackwater rail system in Central Queensland, is now scheduled for completion by June 2012.

In a critical milestone for the project, QR National Network Services completed construction of the Bluff Feeder Station site six months ahead of schedule and has handed it over to energy provider Powerlink to connect power supply.

Feeder station sites at Wycarbah and Duaringa have also been handed over to Powerlink, with a fourth feeder station at Raglan under construction and on target for commissioning in November 2011.

QR National Network Services CEO Michael Carter said accelerating the project was significant for Queensland’s coal sector as it would provide coal customers with greater flexibility for rail haulage on the Blackwater rail system sooner than originally planned.

“This electrification project adds to an extensive program of works along the Blackwater system in recent years to expand the coal haulage capacity for our customers,” he said.

“We’ve duplicated approximately 80% of the track on the system, providing our customers with greater supply-chain flexibility to meet growing export demand.”

QR National Network Services is working with the TrackPower Alliance and energy provider Powerlink to deliver the power project.

Mr Carter said the highly effective alliance structure had enabled the electrical project to be fast tracked.

“We’ve had to overcome some difficult challenges to reach this milestone, particularly with construction impacted by the extraordinary wet weather in the region earlier this year,” he said.

“This project is the largest electrical upgrade since the initial electrification in the 1980s. It is a credit to all involved that we’re delivering a project of this magnitude with substantial time and cost savings.”

Approximately 1,000 jobs were created during the construction phase of the project, including those directly involved in construction as well as equipment and material suppliers, hospitality workers and others in associated industries such as manufacturing.

The Blackwater rail network connects coal mines west of Rockhampton to the export terminals at Gladstone.


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