Construction of the once-in-a-generation Inland Rail officially began today, boosting jobs, creating vital infrastructure and strengthening the economy.
The Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack turned the ceremonial first sod alongside ARTC executives, the construction contractor INLink and other dignitaries at the site in Parkes.
Construction of the project is beginning where the first 5.3kms of new rail for Inland Rail will be built, and around 98kms of existing corridors are being upgraded between Parkes to Narromine.
ARTC CEO John Fullerton said the start of Inland Rail construction heralds an historic and important milestone not only for the regions but the whole of Australia.
“The sod-turn for Inland Rail is a significant, momentous occasion and it’s fitting to celebrate it at the site where the first greenfields section of Inland Rail will be built. When Inland Rail is operational, Parkes will be an important hub with double stacked, 1800 metre trains connecting west to Perth and Adelaide and along the east coast between Melbourne and Brisbane,” said Mr Fullerton.
“Australia’s rail system has always been essential to the freight supply chain and once built, Inland Rail will enhance the national freight rail network – creating jobs, reducing supply chain costs and making Australia more competitive by linking-in with other major infrastructure to connect cities and farms to markets; faster, safer and more efficiently,” said Mr Fullerton.
Inland Rail CEO Richard Wankmuller echoed the sentiments, saying Inland Rail will transform the way Australia moves freight around the country and support the economy into the future by providing the backbone for a worldclass supply chain.
“With Inland Rail we will have a more resilient rail network, with multiple pathways to meet the needs of our customers while also providing flexibility for our farmers by connecting to existing regional freight lines,” said Mr Wankmuller.
“Inland Rail is the safe, sustainable, integrated solution that will help address Australia’s current freight inefficiencies. This new 1700km freight rail line will help capture commercial opportunities in both metropolitan and regional areas through more efficient and commercially responsive supply chains.”
“ARTC is focused on timely project delivery and with support from the government, in partnership with the private sector and hand in hand with the community, we will ensure as many of the benefits as possible from Inland Rail will flow to local regions as well as the national economy,” said Mr Wankmuller.
ARTC Chairman Warren Truss said with Inland Rail now in construction, the benefits and jobs are being realised today around the nation with Aussie steel from Whyalla, concrete sleepers being fabricated in the NSW Southern Highlands, ballast coming from Parkes and culverts produced in Tamworth.
“Inland Rail will generate opportunities and benefits to the regions – 16,000 jobs and $16 billion dollars to the economy and will stimulate business activity beyond the construction phase,” said Mr Truss.
Inland Rail offers a road competitive service which will reduce transit times for freight movements between Melbourne and Brisbane by rail to less than 24 hours, with reliability, freight availability and pricing to meet growing customer needs.
Inland Rail will include approximately 1100kms of major upgrades and enhancements to existing track and construction of approximately 600kms of new track.
ARTC media team - 1300 196 401
Notes to editors
Key facts on Inland Rail
1. Inland Rail is a 1,700km rail line that will complete the spine of the national freight rail network, offering less than 24-hour transit time between Melbourne to Brisbane with 98% reliability.
2. $9.3 billion has been committed by the Australian Government for ARTC to develop and build Inland Rail. Additional funds will come from a partnership with the private sector.
3. 16,000 jobs will be created for Australia by the project with 700 ongoing jobs once Inland Rail is operational.
4. Inland Rail will boost Australia's GDP by $16 billion over the 10-year delivery period and the first 50 years of operation.
5. Inland Rail is divided into 13 distinct projects - one project in Victoria, seven in NSW, and five in Queensland. The longest project is Narromine to Narrabri at 307km long, with the shortest project Gowrie to Helidon at 26km.
6. 70% (1,100kms) of Inland Rail will use existing rail lines and corridors making the best possible use of previous investments and minimising the impact on the environment and community.
7. First train is expected to run in 2025 - trains will have the ability to be double-stacked and up to 1,800m long - that's 18 lengths of a football field. Long double-stacked trains will significantly increase the payload of each train, making it more efficient, cost competitive and reduce carbon emissions.
8. 262,000 tonnes of steel and 745,000 cubic metres of concrete to build it, equivalent to the steel in five Sydney Harbour Bridges and concrete in over 12 Q1 Buildings (Australia’s tallest building).
9.The largest diameter diesel freight tunnel in the Southern Hemisphere will be built through the steep terrain of the Toowoomba Range as part of the Gowrie to Helidon project in Queensland.
10. Removing +200,000 truck movements annually, increasing safety and capacity for freight and passenger services by reducing congestion.
Milestones so far:
- As at 26 November 2018 ARTC had 187 live contracts for materials, goods and services worth $637 million
- Key supply contracts awarded for Parkes to Narromine section:
- Over $300 million construction contract signed with INLink Joint Venture
- $7 million awarded to Parkes-based companies Calvani Crushing and Ausrock Quarries for ballast
- $20 million awarded to Rocla for 200,000 concrete sleepers creating 20 jobs in Southern Highlands
- $20 million awarded to Liberty OneSteel Whyalla Steelworks for 14,000 tonnes of steel rail
- Commonwealth and NSW Government project approvals granted in September 2018 for the Parkes to Narromine section, the first section of Inland Rail to receive formal project approvals
- All 13 Inland Rail projects have completed the concept assessment stage
- 1141 Land Access Agreements in place - 95% success rate
- ARTC has met with landowners on more than 1,600 occasions since 1 January 2018
- ARTC has hosted Industry Briefing sessions across 2017 and 2018 attended by more than 2,500 people
Other useful links:
- Related images, videos and fact sheets in Dropbox folder here
- Parkes to Narromine project webpage here