The elimination of sharp bends along the Interstate Rail Network between Newcastle and the Queensland border is progressing well with work on yet another section of track now completed.
Federal Infrastructure and Transport Minister Anthony Albanese said by straightening the line so trains can use it at higher speeds safely, the $170 million North Coast Curve Easing Project will shave almost an hour off transit times along Australia’s east coast.
“The latest section of track to be fixed is at Rappville south of Casino, with the entire project expected to be completed on time and on budget by the end of this year,” said Mr Albanese.
“All up, the Gillard Labor Government is investing an unprecedented $3.4 billion to modernise the Interstate Network, a capital works program that is rebuilding more than a third of this critical piece of infrastructure – or 3,771 kilometres of existing track – and extending its reach by a further 235 kilometres.
“Building a faster, safer and more reliable rail network is central to our broader efforts to boost national productivity and reduce Australia’s carbon pollution.”
Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC) CEO John Fullerton said the curve easing program was a key aspect of his organisation’s strategy to reduce transit times, increase capacity and build a highly reliable rail network.
“By allowing trains to travel at more consistent speeds, we can reduce transit time, increase capacity and build reliability into the North South rail link. Overall the project has the potential to cut almost an hour off the transit time between Sydney and Brisbane,” said Mr Fullerton.
“As a result of the work we’ve already completed on the North Coast line, our new timetables are revealing significant time savings between the East Coast capitals.
“Other benefits of the curve easing programme will be a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, a reduction in above and below rail maintenance costs and the overall improved competitiveness of rail freight.
“This is not only good news for the economy but also for the local community, with every 1,500 metre long train taking up to 100 trucks off local North Coast roads.”