$31 million innovative steel contract delivers for Inland Rail

A $31 million contract to supply steel rail for the next stage of Inland Rail construction is underway with the initial 6,000-tonne batch of the new steel rolled off the Whyalla production line in late May, and now being delivered to northern NSW.

Delivery of steel.

“Whyalla is a big part of Australia’s rail history and their steel underpins thousands of kilometres of ARTC’s existing network around Australia, including the first section of Inland Rail from Parkes to Narromine where nearly 14,000 tonnes of steel has been delivered for construction now underway,” Inland Rail CEO Richard Wankmuller said.

“We are preparing for the next stage of construction on Inland Rail on the Narrabri to North Star section following Federal and State Government project and associated approvals. This high-quality steel by Liberty – which is the only Australian manufacturer of rail steel to the standards required for Inland Rail – will be used for reconstruction of the existing track, construction of a new section of rail line at Camurra and level crossing works, among other things. This current steel delivery has an innovative new rail design, designed and manufactured in Australia specifically for the 1700km Melbourne to Brisbane Inland Rail project.

Inland Rail CEO, Richard Wankmuller, said the new rail shape – produced by the combined expertise of the Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC) and Liberty – was designed by ARTC to enhance Australia’s largest rail infrastructure project.

“In order to deliver its full benefits, Inland Rail needs to provide a safe and fast alignment, and the modified rail cross-section profile accommodates this by improving the performance of the wheel-rail interface” Mr Wankmuller said.

“The new profile has been developed to reduce rail wear and reduce maintenance costs, and lessens the requirement for rail grinding on commissioning of the track”. It has been incorporated into the publicly available suite of ARTC Track Standards and from now on become the new norm for all tangent track across ARTC’s 6500km Interstate Network.

“The innovative new profile was designed by ARTC teams and the final shape was further refined in conjunction with Liberty Primary Steel in Whyalla, which is producing the first rail delivered for the section of Inland Rail between Narrabri and North Star.

“This is only the beginning. There are five Sydney Harbour Bridges’ worth of steel required to build Inland Rail between Melbourne and Brisbane. That means more potential for jobs and benefits for Australians. The benefits of Inland Rail are starting to flow to businesses, not just in NSW, but all around Australia.”

Liberty General Manager Commercial, Carol-Anne Nelson, said the company was pleased to secure yet another significant Inland Rail contract, as well as being able to deliver such an innovative new product.

“As we seek to transform our business, it’s vital we develop and grow our product range to cater for an evolving market, working closely with our customers to create customised, premium solutions,” Ms Nelson said.

“It is exciting to be supplying such an innovative product, particularly to this landmark ‘nation-building’ project which will also create additional employment and industry opportunities in regional communities right across Australia, including Whyalla.”.

Ms Nelson said as well as helping Liberty secure the new contract, this product may also reduce roller-wear, increasing the productivity of Whyalla’s rail manufacturing process.

“ARTC have a choice about where they buy their steel from, so we’re very pleased that they’re continuing to buy our high-quality, Australian-made steel for the next stage of this vital infrastructure project,” she said.

“They will also be one of our customers that will soon see the benefit from a $3 million investment in the existing Whyalla rail plant, which will lead to various improvements and deliver enhancements in productivity and accuracy.”

The Institute of Railway Technology at Monash University peer reviewed the new profile and provided valuable support through the development of the final product.

Media contacts:

ARTC: Media Team 1300 196 401

Liberty: Luke O’Donnell 0438 294 377

Hi-resolution images available here:

Rail production, Whyalla: https://www.dropbox.com/sh/q6xggxwg3xlpo9p/AAA‐WcHWI58uG1qo6sxrLPfDa?dl=0

First rail delivery, North Star: