Narromine to Narrabri project update March 2024

Since achieving Australian Government approvals in January, we've been busy finishing important site investigations and getting ready for the next phase of project development. There is plenty ahead for the next quarter too.

On 31 January, Inland Rail received approval from the Australian Government to progress the Narromine to Narrabri section. This followed a detailed assessment by the Commonwealth Department of Climate Change, Energy, Environment and Water under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999.

The approval includes strict conditions to manage and report on outcomes on matters of national environmental significance and the environment.

With NSW and Australian Government approvals now in place, the project team is excited to enter the next phase of project development and delivery.

What’s coming up:

These activities will help provide greater certainty on the full scope and cost of the Narromine to Narrabri section, as required by the Australian Government:

  • addressing NSW and Australian Government conditions of approval, including developing environmental and social management plans, permits, and licenses
  • First Nations cultural heritage field work and assessments
  • refining designs of key infrastructure assets, particularly the section around Narrabri. Approved low impact site investigations will help inform these design refinements
  • land access and acquisition negotiations with landowners and stakeholders will continue.

Image: Artist’s impression of the Inland Rail bridge over the Macquarie River near Narromine.

Two trays filled with soil and small rocks, with a ruler next to it. These components make up a soil test result.

Core drill sample collected last year from the Narrabri test site

Geotechnical investigations wrap up in Narrabri

In February, we finished a four-month stint of geotechnical investigations along the rail corridor in Narrabri. Our team collected 46 bags of earth samples from 20 boreholes, some of which were 40m deep!

The 20 drill sites were investigated one after the other, with each site contained within approximately a 5m x 5m securely fenced space. The fenced area housed all the equipment and vehicles, enabling farming operations to proceeded unaffected.

Once the investigations were completed at all sites, the holes were backfilled with the original spoil and the work sites reinstated as close to previous conditions as possible. Finally, each site was inspected by the Inland Rail representative and property owner and signed off before our departure – a standard process for all of our Geotechnical Investigations.

All samples, which comprise alluvial soils, are currently being analysed in Narrabri at an accredited testing facility. Testing data will help us determine the design of the bridge substructure which includes concrete footings, piers and abutments needed to build strong and safe foundations for the Narrabri viaduct.

For the science buffs out there further testing of the soil will look at particle size distribution, Atterberg limits, linear shrinkage, dispersiveness and unconfined compressive strength results.

Tune in next time for more exclusive updates and insights from N2N site investigations.

Learn more about the Narromine to Narrabri section of Inland Rail:


Section overview     Works and Planning Details

Consultation Information    Contact Details


Learn more about the Inland Rail program