Narrabri to North Star (NSW)

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The Narrabri to North Star (N2NS) section is one of 13 projects that complete Inland Rail and is an upgrade to approximately 186km of track within the existing rail corridor and construction of approximately 2.3km of a new rail corridor.

The works are required to accommodate the operation of 1,800m-long double-stacked freight trains. This project crosses the three Local Government Areas of Gwydir, Narrabri and Moree Plains.

The alignment

Due to design complexities associated with flood management, the project has been divided into two portions, known as separable portion 1 (SP1) and separable portion 2 (SP2).

This will allow construction to continue on schedule for the majority of the project, while environmental approvals are finalised on the Mehi–Gwydir floodplain.

  • SP1: Upgrading 171km of track between Narrabri and North Star, excluding works over the Mehi–Gwydir floodplain. This portion is currently going through NSW and Australian Government approvals (see ‘Progress’ section below). SP1 is expected to be approved by all relevant agencies by early to mid-2020, with construction to commence in late 2020.
  • SP2: Upgrading 15km of track crossing the Mehi–Gwydir floodplain and building 2.3km of new track at Camurra to bypass the existing hairpin turn. This portion of the project will go through a new approvals process and consultation to make sure that railway structures across the Mehi–Gwydir floodplain meet local community expectations and the NSW Government’s planning and floodplain management policies.

Progress

For SP1, in December 2019 we released a Submissions and Preferred Infrastructure Report (SPIR) that presents the details design and changes made to the project.

These design refinements are aimed at addressing issues raised in submissions and minimising potential environmental effects of construction and operation of the project.

Key topics presented in the SPIR are:

  • revisions to the alignment and the height of the railway
  • enhancements to level crossings to improve road safety
  • suggested approaches to the management of construction and operational noise, including potential noise walls in key locations
  • upgraded design approaches to flood management, involving alterations to bridges, culverts and how water passes through the railway corridor – the design seeks to maintain a ‘like for like’ outcome
  • changes to the project’s development footprint to incorporate the revised design and provide for flexibility in construction
  • our anticipated approach to construction, which aims to limit disruption to grain freight rail movements as much as possible.

Three proponents have been shortlisted to tender for construction of SP1, with responses due in early 2020.

Early works related to power and telecom utilities have started along the corridor to ensure that construction activities do not disrupt these vital services.

Environment planning and approvals

ARTC is continuing to work with the NSW and Commonwealth governments to finalise SP1 planning and environmental approvals. The SPIR is a key step in the approval process for SP1.

  • In 2016 the N2NS project was declared State Significant Infrastructure (SSI) under the NSW Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979 (EP&A Act) and a controlled action under the Commonwealth Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act).
  • In late 2017 the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) was placed on public exhibition, with 18 submissions received.
  • The SPIR was prepared to address the issues raised in submissions and to complete environmental assessments of the finalised design. The DPIE accepted public submissions on the SPIR in January 2020.
  • The DPIE is working to conclude their assessment of the project and the NSW Minister for Planning will set conditions of approval under the EP&A Act.
  • The final step is for the Commonwealth Minister for Environment to set further conditions under the EPBC Act.

The SSI application, EIS and SPIR are available on DPIE’s Major Projects website.

We have begun studies and community engagement for SP2, which will continue through 2020, leading to the preparation of a new EIS.

Staying safe near rail

Steel rail and concrete sleeper deliveries for work on N2NS commenced in June 2019 and will continue into 2020.

As the deliveries continue, we are asking landholders, motorists and communities around Edgeroi, Bellata, Gurley, Moree, Crooble, Milguy, Croppa Creek and North Star to be extra vigilant around level crossings.

More trains will be running on the track during the day and night.

Trains are required to sound their horns as they approach level crossings. However, as a motorist, you must take care and be vigilant near crossings.

Keep safe by stopping at all rail crossings, looking and listening for trains, and obeying all warning signals and signs before proceeding.

Our work also involves using heavy machinery and vehicles both within the rail corridor and travelling to and from the construction site.

For your safety, please do not enter the rail corridor or the construction sites.

Please use added caution when driving or walking and observe signage.

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.

The N2NS team will continue our consultation with our stakeholders including councils, state government agencies and landowners to discuss key project elements such as flood management, noise impacts, level crossings and property impacts.

As we approach construction on SP1, we are planning a range of briefing sessions, workshops and networking events throughout 2020. Keep an eye out in your local newspaper or register with us now to keep up to date on these opportunities.

The EIS process for SP2 will start in mid-2020, with community consultation to support the EIS work.

Contact us

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

Visit our Doing business with us page to find out about supplier and contractor opportunities.

The Narrabri to North Star (N2NS) section is one of 13 projects that complete Inland Rail and is an upgrade to approximately 186km of track within the existing rail corridor and construction of approximately 2.3km of a new rail corridor.

The works are required to accommodate the operation of 1,800m-long double-stacked freight trains. This project crosses the three Local Government Areas of Gwydir, Narrabri and Moree Plains.

The alignment

Due to design complexities associated with flood management, the project has been divided into two portions, known as separable portion 1 (SP1) and separable portion 2 (SP2).

This will allow construction to continue on schedule for the majority of the project, while environmental approvals are finalised on the Mehi–Gwydir floodplain.

  • SP1: Upgrading 171km of track between Narrabri and North Star, excluding works over the Mehi–Gwydir floodplain. This portion is currently going through NSW and Australian Government approvals (see ‘Progress’ section below). SP1 is expected to be approved by all relevant agencies by early to mid-2020, with construction to commence in late 2020.
  • SP2: Upgrading 15km of track crossing the Mehi–Gwydir floodplain and building 2.3km of new track at Camurra to bypass the existing hairpin turn. This portion of the project will go through a new approvals process and consultation to make sure that railway structures across the Mehi–Gwydir floodplain meet local community expectations and the NSW Government’s planning and floodplain management policies.

Progress

For SP1, in December 2019 we released a Submissions and Preferred Infrastructure Report (SPIR) that presents the details design and changes made to the project.

These design refinements are aimed at addressing issues raised in submissions and minimising potential environmental effects of construction and operation of the project.

Key topics presented in the SPIR are:

  • revisions to the alignment and the height of the railway
  • enhancements to level crossings to improve road safety
  • suggested approaches to the management of construction and operational noise, including potential noise walls in key locations
  • upgraded design approaches to flood management, involving alterations to bridges, culverts and how water passes through the railway corridor – the design seeks to maintain a ‘like for like’ outcome
  • changes to the project’s development footprint to incorporate the revised design and provide for flexibility in construction
  • our anticipated approach to construction, which aims to limit disruption to grain freight rail movements as much as possible.

Three proponents have been shortlisted to tender for construction of SP1, with responses due in early 2020.

Early works related to power and telecom utilities have started along the corridor to ensure that construction activities do not disrupt these vital services.

Environment planning and approvals

ARTC is continuing to work with the NSW and Commonwealth governments to finalise SP1 planning and environmental approvals. The SPIR is a key step in the approval process for SP1.

  • In 2016 the N2NS project was declared State Significant Infrastructure (SSI) under the NSW Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979 (EP&A Act) and a controlled action under the Commonwealth Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act).
  • In late 2017 the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) was placed on public exhibition, with 18 submissions received.
  • The SPIR was prepared to address the issues raised in submissions and to complete environmental assessments of the finalised design. The DPIE accepted public submissions on the SPIR in January 2020.
  • The DPIE is working to conclude their assessment of the project and the NSW Minister for Planning will set conditions of approval under the EP&A Act.
  • The final step is for the Commonwealth Minister for Environment to set further conditions under the EPBC Act.

The SSI application, EIS and SPIR are available on DPIE’s Major Projects website.

We have begun studies and community engagement for SP2, which will continue through 2020, leading to the preparation of a new EIS.

Staying safe near rail

Steel rail and concrete sleeper deliveries for work on N2NS commenced in June 2019 and will continue into 2020.

As the deliveries continue, we are asking landholders, motorists and communities around Edgeroi, Bellata, Gurley, Moree, Crooble, Milguy, Croppa Creek and North Star to be extra vigilant around level crossings.

More trains will be running on the track during the day and night.

Trains are required to sound their horns as they approach level crossings. However, as a motorist, you must take care and be vigilant near crossings.

Keep safe by stopping at all rail crossings, looking and listening for trains, and obeying all warning signals and signs before proceeding.

Our work also involves using heavy machinery and vehicles both within the rail corridor and travelling to and from the construction site.

For your safety, please do not enter the rail corridor or the construction sites.

Please use added caution when driving or walking and observe signage.

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.

The N2NS team will continue our consultation with our stakeholders including councils, state government agencies and landowners to discuss key project elements such as flood management, noise impacts, level crossings and property impacts.

As we approach construction on SP1, we are planning a range of briefing sessions, workshops and networking events throughout 2020. Keep an eye out in your local newspaper or register with us now to keep up to date on these opportunities.

The EIS process for SP2 will start in mid-2020, with community consultation to support the EIS work.

Contact us

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

Visit our Doing business with us page to find out about supplier and contractor opportunities.

  • Gomeroi art program

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    26 May, 2020

    Moree Secondary College students proudly wore a new Rugby 7s jersey designed through an Inland Rail supported art competition at the recent 2020 Lloyd McDermott Rugby Junior Ella 7s tournament in Dubbo.

    Half of the school’s student body is Aboriginal from the Gomeroi communities of north west NSW. This was the first time the school had entered a team in the open boys’ competition.

    Inspired by Aboriginal art, the winning players’ kit design was selected at the school’s art competition.

    Coach Jamie Sampson said: “I was really proud of the boys with how they conducted themselves both on and off...

    Moree Secondary College students proudly wore a new Rugby 7s jersey designed through an Inland Rail supported art competition at the recent 2020 Lloyd McDermott Rugby Junior Ella 7s tournament in Dubbo.

    Half of the school’s student body is Aboriginal from the Gomeroi communities of north west NSW. This was the first time the school had entered a team in the open boys’ competition.

    Inspired by Aboriginal art, the winning players’ kit design was selected at the school’s art competition.

    Coach Jamie Sampson said: “I was really proud of the boys with how they conducted themselves both on and off the field. It was an enjoyable trip to be a part of and was a privilege to coach them.”

    The Australian Rail Track Corporation is inviting community groups and organisations to apply for the latest round of Inland Rail’s Community Sponsorships and Donations program, which is now open and runs until 31 July 2020.

    Inland Rail Director of Engagement, Environment and Property Rebecca Pickering said the grants of $1000 and $4000 could assist regional communities that have been heavily impacted by COVID-19 social distancing requirements.

    “A key commitment of Inland Rail is to leave a positive legacy along the rail corridor and the Community Sponsorships and Donations program is just one example of how we ensure regional communities benefit from this unique project.

    “Because of the impact COVID-19 has had on our communities, we are specifically encouraging applications for projects that increase the capacity to deliver services during the ongoing pandemic or create online STEM programs for students while they are being home-schooled,” she said.

    To find out how to apply and access an application form visit the Inland Rail website or email IRCommunitySponsorships@ARTC.com.au

  • Sleeper testing

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    26 May, 2020

    Last month, we conducted condition and contamination assessments of the timber sleepers along the project alignment.

    As part of our commitment to sustainable construction practices, we will recycle any timber sleepers in good physical condition for works including landscaping and replace them with concrete sleepers.


    Last month, we conducted condition and contamination assessments of the timber sleepers along the project alignment.

    As part of our commitment to sustainable construction practices, we will recycle any timber sleepers in good physical condition for works including landscaping and replace them with concrete sleepers.


  • How Inland Rail manages land access

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    26 May, 2020

    Building major infrastructure involves responsible and well-considered negotiations with landowners for land required by the project. There are three types of land access that Inland Rail may negotiate with landowners directly impacted by our works. These are temporary land access agreements (LAAs), temporary occupation licences or leases and permanent acquisitions.

    Land access agreements are voluntary legal agreements between landowners and Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC), that allow us to access properties to carry out agreed work activities. These activities can involve flora and fauna specialists, heritage and cultural specialists, geo-technical investigators, hydrology investigators, cadastral land surveyors, and noise, air quality...

    Building major infrastructure involves responsible and well-considered negotiations with landowners for land required by the project. There are three types of land access that Inland Rail may negotiate with landowners directly impacted by our works. These are temporary land access agreements (LAAs), temporary occupation licences or leases and permanent acquisitions.

    Land access agreements are voluntary legal agreements between landowners and Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC), that allow us to access properties to carry out agreed work activities. These activities can involve flora and fauna specialists, heritage and cultural specialists, geo-technical investigators, hydrology investigators, cadastral land surveyors, and noise, air quality and vibration specialists.

    For more information on our land access agreements and why we need them, read the managing land access fact sheet on our website

    Before we start construction early next year, we may need to identify land along the corridor for temporary occupation or permanent acquisition. In these instances, ARTC will negotiate a temporary licence or lease for this type of work, where a market rental rate will be offered. For land identified for permanent acquisition, ARTC will negotiate with affected landowners on behalf of Transport for New South Wales.

    Inland Rail will be negotiating temporary and permanent agreements over the next few months prior to SP1 contract award and for SP2 investigations where a land access agreement is not already in place.

  • Meet the team - Roy Williams

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    26 May, 2020

    Our team comprises lots of talented subject matter experts who are regularly engaging with the community to deliver Inland Rail. We’d like you to get to know us, too.

    Roy Williams

    Tell us a bit about your professional background

    I fell into working on the construction of cableway over the rainforest in Cairns under strict environmental constraints. This led to work on a 275kV transmission line and a career developing, building and refurbishing transmission lines in North Queensland and the Darling Downs for Powerlink Queensland.

    A relocation to Brisbane introduced me to Aurizon (or Queensland Rail as it was then known) to work on a rail electrification project, project management on major expansion works, and asset management/track configuration.

    What is your role at Inland Rail?

    Identifying relocating overhead electrical assets, predominantly in NSW, that could potentially impede the passage of double-stacked trains travelling the Inland Rail route. I’m also responsible for the investigation and provision of new power supply routes to new or upgraded signaling sites.

    Why did you decide to join Inland Rail?

    Power lines and rail all in one complete package. How good is that?

    How is the project coming along?

    We have begun surveying all the Essential Energy crossings on the Narrabri to North Star project.

    What’s the most rewarding aspect of working on the project?

    Developing a relationship between Essential Energy, Transgrid, our designers and contractors to explore and implement synergies for all the outcomes we need to achieve. Plus, I’m getting a new perspective on working in the cropping regions, very different from previous projects in cattle and sugar cane regions.

    What can the community expect to see in coming months?

    A lot of activity with boring machines and work crews taking new deliveries to remove poles and replace with taller ones.

    What do you like doing in your time off?

    I am particularly fond of the craft brewing scene that has developed over the last five years, particularly in Brisbane, and I enjoy tasting the new and varied products they release. Working on Inland Rail enables me to explore this interest in the cities of Albury, Wagga Wagga, Dubbo, and hopefully Narrabri and Moree.

    Our team comprises lots of talented subject matter experts who are regularly engaging with the community to deliver Inland Rail. We’d like you to get to know us, too.

    Roy Williams

    Tell us a bit about your professional background

    I fell into working on the construction of cableway over the rainforest in Cairns under strict environmental constraints. This led to work on a 275kV transmission line and a career developing, building and refurbishing transmission lines in North Queensland and the Darling Downs for Powerlink Queensland.

    A relocation to Brisbane introduced me to Aurizon (or Queensland Rail as it was then known) to work on a rail electrification project, project management on major expansion works, and asset management/track configuration.

    What is your role at Inland Rail?

    Identifying relocating overhead electrical assets, predominantly in NSW, that could potentially impede the passage of double-stacked trains travelling the Inland Rail route. I’m also responsible for the investigation and provision of new power supply routes to new or upgraded signaling sites.

    Why did you decide to join Inland Rail?

    Power lines and rail all in one complete package. How good is that?

    How is the project coming along?

    We have begun surveying all the Essential Energy crossings on the Narrabri to North Star project.

    What’s the most rewarding aspect of working on the project?

    Developing a relationship between Essential Energy, Transgrid, our designers and contractors to explore and implement synergies for all the outcomes we need to achieve. Plus, I’m getting a new perspective on working in the cropping regions, very different from previous projects in cattle and sugar cane regions.

    What can the community expect to see in coming months?

    A lot of activity with boring machines and work crews taking new deliveries to remove poles and replace with taller ones.

    What do you like doing in your time off?

    I am particularly fond of the craft brewing scene that has developed over the last five years, particularly in Brisbane, and I enjoy tasting the new and varied products they release. Working on Inland Rail enables me to explore this interest in the cities of Albury, Wagga Wagga, Dubbo, and hopefully Narrabri and Moree.

  • Cable relocation paves way for construction

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    26 May, 2020

    As we get closer to starting construction on Narrabri to North Star, there are some important early works we need to complete to avoid any disruptions.

    Relocating Telstra cables along the rail corridor is critical to the project’s advancement, with recent work undertaken from Narrabri to Gurley. Vocus and NextGen has also been working in the area hauling cables from Narrabri to Edgeroi. During June, Telstra, Vocus and NextGen will be working in areas south of Moree.

    Surveying of High Voltage (HV) electricity poles near the Narrabri to North Star corridor started this month and will continue in June. These...

    As we get closer to starting construction on Narrabri to North Star, there are some important early works we need to complete to avoid any disruptions.

    Relocating Telstra cables along the rail corridor is critical to the project’s advancement, with recent work undertaken from Narrabri to Gurley. Vocus and NextGen has also been working in the area hauling cables from Narrabri to Edgeroi. During June, Telstra, Vocus and NextGen will be working in areas south of Moree.

    Surveying of High Voltage (HV) electricity poles near the Narrabri to North Star corridor started this month and will continue in June. These power lines will need to be raised higher in identified areas to accommodate the double-stacked trains that will operate on the upgraded alignment.

    We will work with landowners where temporary property access may be required to complete these works and we’ll make every effort to minimise disruption.


  • Project approvals process

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    26 May, 2020

    We have prepared a Submissions and Preferred Infrastructure Report (SPIR) outlining the changes made to the Narrabri to North Star two components. This details the subsequent environmental implications of delivering SP1.

    It is expected DPIE will conclude its project assessment and the NSW Minister for Planning will set conditions of approval under the Environmental Planning & Assessment Act mid this year.

    The final step is for the Commonwealth Minister for the Environment to set further conditions under the EPBC Act. Based on this assumption project works are forecast to begin in Q4 2020.


    We have prepared a Submissions and Preferred Infrastructure Report (SPIR) outlining the changes made to the Narrabri to North Star two components. This details the subsequent environmental implications of delivering SP1.

    It is expected DPIE will conclude its project assessment and the NSW Minister for Planning will set conditions of approval under the Environmental Planning & Assessment Act mid this year.

    The final step is for the Commonwealth Minister for the Environment to set further conditions under the EPBC Act. Based on this assumption project works are forecast to begin in Q4 2020.


  • Project update May 2020

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    26 May, 2020

    We anticipate separable package 1 (SP1) to be approved by all relevant government agencies by mid-2020 and we are now evaluating industry submissions for the construction tender with plans to announce the successful tenderer in the second half of this year.

    While tender submissions are being reviewed, we encourage all businesses interested in supplying to the project as subcontractors and suppliers to get involved. Businesses can register an interest against the applicable Work Packages listed on the ICN Gateway page.

    In addition, ARTC is seeking information about service providers able to deliver training in rail infrastructure and civil competencies...

    We anticipate separable package 1 (SP1) to be approved by all relevant government agencies by mid-2020 and we are now evaluating industry submissions for the construction tender with plans to announce the successful tenderer in the second half of this year.

    While tender submissions are being reviewed, we encourage all businesses interested in supplying to the project as subcontractors and suppliers to get involved. Businesses can register an interest against the applicable Work Packages listed on the ICN Gateway page.

    In addition, ARTC is seeking information about service providers able to deliver training in rail infrastructure and civil competencies in the Gwydir, Moree Plains and Narrabri Local Government Areas (LGAs) to residents interested in upskilling for potential employment opportunities on the Narrabri to North Star project.

    ARTC is seeking training providers that:

    • Are experienced in delivering some or all of the following rail infrastructure and civil competencies and/or the TLI21315 Certificate II in Rail Infrastructure
    • May be approved Smart and Skilled Training Providers
    • Are based in the Gwydir, Narrabri or Moree Plains local government areas
    • Can deliver training to residents of the Gwydir, Moree Plains and Narrabri LGAs.

    Information on this training opportunity can be found under the Work Packages section at the bottom of this page.

    Site establishment is expected to begin in late 2020 with full construction commencing early 2021. Construction for SP1 is expected to run until 2023. During this time, selected temporary construction compounds will be progressively set up at key sites along the rail corridor.

    Once our construction contractor is announced, we will develop a construction works schedule that will outline the timing and type of works to be delivered near landowner and key stakeholder properties.


    We are continuing to prepare the Environmental Impact Statement for SP2, which will include a variety of field investigations and planned stakeholder and community engagements.