Albury to Illabo (NSW)

Albury to Illabo (A2I) is one of 13 projects that complete Inland Rail. The A2I project is an enhancement to 185km of existing rail corridor from the VIC/NSW border to Illabo in regional NSW. While we will use the existing rail line, we need to make enhancements and modifications to the track, footbridges and road bridges, overhead structures, signal structures and level crossings, to create the horizontal and vertical clearances (width and height) required for the Inland Rail double-stacked container trains.

The alignment

The existing track is suitable for carrying freight in the future, but some bridges will require upgrading for double-stacked containers. Three methods can be used to overcome this:

  • lowering or shifting the track
  • raising or widening the bridges
  • replacing the bridges.

To ensure safety and a wider passage for double-stacked container trains, some signalling structures, power poles and other infrastructure will be moved further away from the track. We will also remove rundown and out-of-use structures in the clearance zone.

To find the best solution we need to understand more about local conditions, including:

  • road traffic movements
  • potential alternative solutions
  • the appropriateness of existing rail structure
  • how works would affect local communities and existing track users.

Progress

In the past year, we have undertaken preliminary studies and spent time speaking with communities and landowners along the rail corridor.

Some of the work we have completed so far includes:

  • preliminary field studies such as ecology, geotechnical and heritage studies to gain an understanding of the existing environmental features, technical challenges and opportunities
  • conducting an engineering desktop study to gain an understanding of issues and opportunities within the project area
  • meeting with landowners and other stakeholders to gain a better understanding of local opportunities, impacts and conditions
  • working with Councils, industry and the community to better understand the local environment.

Environment planning and approvals

Following further investigations and due to the increased complexity, the A2I project has been identified as State Significant Infrastructure (SSI) in accordance with NSW legislation. This requires the preparation of an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) which is determined by the Minister for Planning and Public Spaces.

We will be lodging an SSI application and scoping report with the NSW Department of Planning, Industry and Environment (DPIE) for the A2I project in early 2020.The scoping report is a high-level, preliminary assessment used to guide the project’s environmental assessment requirements, which will be issued to ARTC by DPIE. This report will be available on the DPIE Major Projects website.

We will also be lodging a referral with the Australian Government Department of the Environment and Energy (DoEE) to determine if the A2I project is a ‘controlled action’ that requires assessment and approval under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999.

We are continuing design investigations and gathering further information to feed into the EIS. The EIS will outline potential environmental and social impacts of the project for consideration by DPIE. It will also capture information gathered from consultation with the community and other stakeholders such as councils, industry and community groups and how this was considered. The work to compile the EIS will begin in early 2020.

Once complete, the EIS is placed on public exhibition for a minimum of 28 days. Community members and other stakeholders are invited to provide their feedback and make formal submissions, which will be considered by DPIE when assessing the project. The Minister for Planning and Public Spaces makes a decision on the project’s approval. The project has to be approved in order for construction on A2I to commence.

Next steps

The A2I project is now in the reference design phase. This phase involves undertaking further environmental and technical investigations, hydrology studies and engagement with communities and landowners.

Some of the investigations you may see in your area include:

  • ecological surveys – to identify habitats and/or species that exist within the rail corridor
  • ongoing geotechnical surveys – to identify local ground conditions
  • cultural heritage surveys – investigations for any evidence of Aboriginal or non-Aboriginal artefacts/heritage
  • ongoing utility identification surveys – to identify infrastructure such as gas and water pipelines
  • noise, air quality and vibration surveys – to measure background noise, air quality and vibration levels.

To view the full range of our studies, please refer to our Environmental Field Studies factsheet.

Community consultation

Community consultation is vital to the success of Inland Rail and we welcome your participation. We are committed to working with communities and stakeholders to get your feedback which will help us with further planning.

We have been engaging with the community in regional NSW to discuss our early reference design thinking and will continue over coming months to gather stakeholder and community feedback. As part of the ongoing design process and environmental assessment we will continue to engage with the community about proposed works along the existing rail corridor between Albury and Illabo.

These conversations will focus on:

  • sharing information around how the proposed enhancement works will sit in the local environment
  • what this may mean in terms of changes in the way you may travel in your community
  • what you can expect to see and hear as a result of double-stacked freight train operation.

We are planning:

  • one-on-one meetings with neighbours in the areas where enhancements are being undertaken
  • neighbourhood conversation booths
  • community drop-in sessions (see our Events page for details, or ‘Key Dates’ on the right)
  • engagement with councils, industry and road and rail agencies to facilitate design solutions that support wider community outcomes where practicable.

Community consultative committee

ARTC will establish a community consultative committee (CCC) for the A2I project following receipt of the project’s environmental assessment requirements from DPIE.

Community consultative committees are a forum where Inland Rail information can be shared between the project team and the community, topics of interest discussed, and issues and concerns addressed. The committees ensure that engagement occurs at all stages of a project and allows community representatives to share their knowledge and experiences on key issues.

Contact us

You can have your questions answered about the project by contacting us directly, or asking us a question.

Albury to Illabo (A2I) is one of 13 projects that complete Inland Rail. The A2I project is an enhancement to 185km of existing rail corridor from the VIC/NSW border to Illabo in regional NSW. While we will use the existing rail line, we need to make enhancements and modifications to the track, footbridges and road bridges, overhead structures, signal structures and level crossings, to create the horizontal and vertical clearances (width and height) required for the Inland Rail double-stacked container trains.

The alignment

The existing track is suitable for carrying freight in the future, but some bridges will require upgrading for double-stacked containers. Three methods can be used to overcome this:

  • lowering or shifting the track
  • raising or widening the bridges
  • replacing the bridges.

To ensure safety and a wider passage for double-stacked container trains, some signalling structures, power poles and other infrastructure will be moved further away from the track. We will also remove rundown and out-of-use structures in the clearance zone.

To find the best solution we need to understand more about local conditions, including:

  • road traffic movements
  • potential alternative solutions
  • the appropriateness of existing rail structure
  • how works would affect local communities and existing track users.

Progress

In the past year, we have undertaken preliminary studies and spent time speaking with communities and landowners along the rail corridor.

Some of the work we have completed so far includes:

  • preliminary field studies such as ecology, geotechnical and heritage studies to gain an understanding of the existing environmental features, technical challenges and opportunities
  • conducting an engineering desktop study to gain an understanding of issues and opportunities within the project area
  • meeting with landowners and other stakeholders to gain a better understanding of local opportunities, impacts and conditions
  • working with Councils, industry and the community to better understand the local environment.

Environment planning and approvals

Following further investigations and due to the increased complexity, the A2I project has been identified as State Significant Infrastructure (SSI) in accordance with NSW legislation. This requires the preparation of an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) which is determined by the Minister for Planning and Public Spaces.

We will be lodging an SSI application and scoping report with the NSW Department of Planning, Industry and Environment (DPIE) for the A2I project in early 2020.The scoping report is a high-level, preliminary assessment used to guide the project’s environmental assessment requirements, which will be issued to ARTC by DPIE. This report will be available on the DPIE Major Projects website.

We will also be lodging a referral with the Australian Government Department of the Environment and Energy (DoEE) to determine if the A2I project is a ‘controlled action’ that requires assessment and approval under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999.

We are continuing design investigations and gathering further information to feed into the EIS. The EIS will outline potential environmental and social impacts of the project for consideration by DPIE. It will also capture information gathered from consultation with the community and other stakeholders such as councils, industry and community groups and how this was considered. The work to compile the EIS will begin in early 2020.

Once complete, the EIS is placed on public exhibition for a minimum of 28 days. Community members and other stakeholders are invited to provide their feedback and make formal submissions, which will be considered by DPIE when assessing the project. The Minister for Planning and Public Spaces makes a decision on the project’s approval. The project has to be approved in order for construction on A2I to commence.

Next steps

The A2I project is now in the reference design phase. This phase involves undertaking further environmental and technical investigations, hydrology studies and engagement with communities and landowners.

Some of the investigations you may see in your area include:

  • ecological surveys – to identify habitats and/or species that exist within the rail corridor
  • ongoing geotechnical surveys – to identify local ground conditions
  • cultural heritage surveys – investigations for any evidence of Aboriginal or non-Aboriginal artefacts/heritage
  • ongoing utility identification surveys – to identify infrastructure such as gas and water pipelines
  • noise, air quality and vibration surveys – to measure background noise, air quality and vibration levels.

To view the full range of our studies, please refer to our Environmental Field Studies factsheet.

Community consultation

Community consultation is vital to the success of Inland Rail and we welcome your participation. We are committed to working with communities and stakeholders to get your feedback which will help us with further planning.

We have been engaging with the community in regional NSW to discuss our early reference design thinking and will continue over coming months to gather stakeholder and community feedback. As part of the ongoing design process and environmental assessment we will continue to engage with the community about proposed works along the existing rail corridor between Albury and Illabo.

These conversations will focus on:

  • sharing information around how the proposed enhancement works will sit in the local environment
  • what this may mean in terms of changes in the way you may travel in your community
  • what you can expect to see and hear as a result of double-stacked freight train operation.

We are planning:

  • one-on-one meetings with neighbours in the areas where enhancements are being undertaken
  • neighbourhood conversation booths
  • community drop-in sessions (see our Events page for details, or ‘Key Dates’ on the right)
  • engagement with councils, industry and road and rail agencies to facilitate design solutions that support wider community outcomes where practicable.

Community consultative committee

ARTC will establish a community consultative committee (CCC) for the A2I project following receipt of the project’s environmental assessment requirements from DPIE.

Community consultative committees are a forum where Inland Rail information can be shared between the project team and the community, topics of interest discussed, and issues and concerns addressed. The committees ensure that engagement occurs at all stages of a project and allows community representatives to share their knowledge and experiences on key issues.

Contact us

You can have your questions answered about the project by contacting us directly, or asking us a question.

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