Australia’s busiest rail network outside of the Sydney and Melbourne suburban passenger networks will shut down for four days next week to commission new track, finalise major capacity upgrade works and carry out important maintenance.
ARTC’s Executive General Manager for the Hunter Valley Network, Alec MacKenzie, said trains would not operate on the Hunter Valley network for 96 hours.
“Over the four days we have approximately 130 individual jobs being completed across the 800 kilometre Hunter Valley rail network from Kooragang in Newcastle out to Narrabri in the Upper Hunter and along the Ulan line,” Mr MacKenzie said.
“We will be undertaking final commissioning works on major projects which are designed to increase the capacity of the Hunter Valley rail network and give us greater operational flexibility, as well as taking the opportunity to upgrade over 200 kilometres of track.”
Some of the major capacity works taking place during the four days include:
Final commissioning works for the Maitland to Minimbah third track project including commissioning of 13km of track from Farley to Greta.
Final commissioning works for the Nundah Bank third track project (between Singleton and Camberwell), including commissioning of 4km of new track
Installation of a turnout at Drayton Junction (the section of track which allows a train to choose two more possible routes)
“These planned shutdowns not only allow ARTC to work network-wide but gives the entire coal chain, from pit to port, a clear window to schedule important maintenance.
“In addition to work on these capacity building projects, we will be carrying out general track maintenance activities to maintain the safety and reliability of the track for both passenger and freight train services,” Mr MacKenzie said.
The maintenance works include:
100 km of track rail grinding
68 km of track resurfacing
2.8 km of track to be reconditioned
9.9 km of track to have its ballast cleaned
13.3 km of new rail to be installed
“The works form one of four closures of this size scheduled each year – to balance the need to maintain and grow the network while minimising disruption to our customers who rely on it,” Mr MacKenzie said.