Narrabri to North Star

Contract awarded for Narrabri to North Star construction

The Trans4m Rail joint venture has been announced as the successful contractor for the construction of Inland Rail between Narrabri and North Star.

The $693 million contract covers phase one of the Narrabri to North Star leg, which includes upgrading 171km of existing track. A contract for phase two, including 15km of track upgrade and 2.3km of new track, will be awarded separately.

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development Michael McCormack said the project would be built by local businesses.

“Inland Rail is going to change the freight task in Australia and in doing so will create opportunity in regional Australia with unprecedented investment and job creation,” he said.

“This nationally significant infrastructure is being built by the skills and expertise of Australian businesses – businesses that invest locally, drive regional employment and give back to communities along this 1,700km corridor of commerce.”

Trans4m rail is a joint venture between John Holland and SEE Civil. Lendlease and another joint venture RailFirst made up of Downer EDI and Seymour White had also been shortlisted for the contract.

Local member for Parkes Mark Coulton said the winning tenderer would invest locally.

“Trans4m Rail has made a commitment to employ local people, engage local businesses and suppliers and work with communities in North West NSW to ensure the benefits of Inland Rail are felt throughout the community.”

Finance Minister Simon Birmingham said that the project would enable more freight to be handled by rail.

“The upgrade of another 171km of track is another important piece in the puzzle to delivering better and quicker freight access to our primary producers in regional Australia, helping them get their product to markets in Australia and overseas with more ease.”

Coulton said that this region was already seeing greater investment.

“This project is about more than just steel tracks – we’re already seeing opportunities for industry to invest in the region through the Northern NSW Inland Port at Narrabri and the Moree Special Activation Precinct – leveraging the advantages of Inland Rail to provide long-term employment and scope for future growth.”

Final approvals passed for Narrabri to North Star Inland Rail

The environmental impact statement (EIS) for the Narrabri to North Star leg of Inland Rail has been approved, paving the way for construction to begin before the end of 2020.

The EIS is one of the final approvals required for the project, with the section already approved by NSW planning authorities.

The leg from Narrabri to North Star involves upgrading 186km of existing rail corridor and 2.3km of new track construction.

Inland Rail was one of 15 projects fast tracked under federal government regulation in June this year. This enabled the project to pass state and federal approvals quickly and be ready for construction sooner.

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development Michael McCormack said that by passing this latest stage in approval, more benefits could flow to the communities along the alignment.

“Inland Rail will play a key role in getting our economy back on track because it means more people in jobs and it means more productivity for so many industries and local businesses,” he said.

“On the Parkes to Narromine section, 1,800 jobs were supported and more than $109 million was spent with 99 local businesses – we’re looking forward to seeing Northern New South Wales enjoy similar benefits soon with construction on this section starting later this year.”

Federal member for Parkes, Mark Coulton, said that the experience of the recently completed first stage, from Parkes to Narromine, would indicate how the next sections would play out.

“The first recently completed section – Parkes to Narromine – provided a significant boost to businesses across a range of industries, including concrete supply, transportation, fencing, earthmoving, accommodation, hospitality and security in what has been a difficult time for many rural businesses with drought, fires and now COVID-19,” he said.

“Northern NSW has a proud history of agricultural excellence – the long term benefits of this transformational project will better connect our region to east coast ports and create new supply chains to better move the produce and products we are famous for.”

Finance Minister Mathias Cormann highlighted that Inland Rail is one of the nationally significant infrastructure projects that hopes to restart the economy after COVID-19.

“Inland Rail will support more than 5,000 jobs in New South Wales during construction and as each section is completed, more fast and reliable rail services will become available to industry and regional producers across Australia,” Minister Cormann said.

“Large scale infrastructure projects are a key driver of growth – driving investment, boosting economic development, creating many news jobs and opportunities for local businesses.”

EIS released for North Star to Border section of Inland Rail

The NSW government has released the environmental impact statement (EIS) for the North Star to Border (NS2B) section of Inland Rail.

With the EIS now on public exhibition, locals along the alignment are invited to make submissions to the NSW Department of Planning, Industry and Environment.

The NSW component of the NS2B section will involve upgrading 25km of existing, non-operational track and the construction of 5km of new track.

There will also be civil works including the construction of bridges, viaducts and culverts, as well as improved level crossings, grade separations, and crossing loops.

Another 9km of the section runs through Queensland, and will be approved through a separate EIS process.

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development Michael McCormack said the 30km leg was essential in ensuring freight efficiencies.

“We know how important Inland Rail is to the nation — reshaping how freight is moved across the nation while generating more than 16,000 jobs and providing a $16 billion boost to the national economy when and where it is needed most,” McCormack said.

“To deliver Inland Rail and realise these important regional jobs and economic benefits we must ensure the project complies with strict state and commonwealth legislation – the years of work that have informed the NS2B EIS will not be complete until communities have their say.”

The NS2B section crosses the Macintyre River floodplain and community feedback has been involved in the project’s reference design.

Finance Minister Mathias Cormann said that the project would have immediate and ongoing benefits.

“Inland Rail’s fast and efficient freight service will support national productivity and deliver local benefits through construction and operation, which is why I welcome this opportunity for communities along the alignment to engage with the planning and design.”

Local member and Minister for Regional Health, Regional Communications and Local Government Mark Coulton said that the project, once it has progressed through planning approvals, would have a positive impact on the local economy.

“Inland Rail will support around 5,000 jobs during construction across NSW and could support hundreds more for northern NSW by its 10th year of operation.”

Submissions can be made online and the EIS will be displayed at communities near the alignment.

Final preparations before construction begins on Narrabri to North Star Inland Rail

The final shipments of steel rail and concrete sleepers for the Narrabri to North Star section of Inland Rail have arrived as the last planning approvals are finished.

With these deliveries completed construction can take the next step forward, with the planning process fast tracked by the NSW government and approved on August 13.

A final contractor is yet to be announced, however three shortlisted tenderers were announced in December 2019. These are: Lendlease Engineering, a joint venture between Downer EDI and Seymour White named RailFirst, and Trans4m Rail, a joint venture between Rhomberg Rail Australia, BGC Contracting, and SEE Civil.

Construction is expected to begin later in 2020.

So far, 21 trains have delivered 24,775 tonnes of Australian-made steel, with the last of the 2,474 165-metre long lengths delivered in the last week.

42 trains have delivered 116,396 Australian made sleepers from Mittagong and 224,939 sleepers from Wagga Wagga.

Federal Member for Parkes Mark Coulton said that once construction begins, local businesses and communities will benefit.

“As we near construction on the next section of the project, benefits are going to flow via local industry and supplier participation, employment and workforce development in communities surrounding the Narrabri to North Star section,” said Coulton.

With the Parkes to Narromine section of Inland Rail nearing completion, communities along the alignment there have seen the impact that the construction phase has had.

“On the first section of Inland Rail between Parkes and Narromine, we saw more than $100 million spent with local businesses and nearly 700 locals work on the project. There were 99 local businesses that supplied goods to the project in some form,” said Coulton.

“Inland Rail is a project that creates opportunity and jobs in the short, medium and long-term – with the local jobs created in supply contracts like the rail and sleepers, the future jobs and investment during construction, and the enduring benefits that will come from the enhancement and expansion of regional supply chains.”

Intermodal hubs and freight infrastructure among new $44m Inland Rail developments

16 local project proposals will be developed as part of the Australian Government’s $44 million Inland Rail Interface Improvement Program.

Michael McCormack, Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development has announced an EY Australia-led consortium has been commissioned to further develop Inland Rail interface improvements.

“Sixteen projects were found eligible in this first round of applications, and those groups are now working with the EY-led consortium to develop pre-feasibility studies, feasibility studies, and strategic business cases,” he said.

McCormack said an intermodal facility at Mangalore, expanded freight infrastructure in the Riverina, and rail upgrades between Kurumbul to Thallon are projects that are being supported through the Interface Improvement Program.

“Inland Rail has always been about far more than building a rail line – it’s about investing in our national freight network, enhancing supply chains, and bringing jobs and economic opportunity to regional Australia,” McCormack said.

“Large infrastructure projects deliver great stimulus to the national economy – Inland Rail, for example, will boost GDP by $16 billion and support 16,000 jobs during construction,” he said.

Mark Coulton, Minister for Regional Health, Regional Communications and Local Government said the Inland Rail Interface Improvement Program is investigating options for regions to maximise their connections to this national freight network.

Coulton said new supply chains enabled by Inland Rail stretch well beyond the tracks connecting Melbourne and Brisbane.

“We are backing local ideas because we know that the connections to Inland Rail will be critical to create economic uplift and ongoing jobs in our regions,” he said.

Proposals received through the Expression of Interest process were assessed by the Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Communications, and by its independent assurance and technical advisor.

Proposals will be developed through pre-feasibility or feasibility studies and strategic business cases, depending on the individual project proposal.

Eligibility to progress through to an appropriate assessment gateway for proposal development was assessed against the Interface Improvement Program principles and information requirements including supporting regional economic growth, capacity to increase Inland Rail throughput and supporting National Freight and Supply Chain Priorities.

Mathias Cormann, Finance Minister, said Inland Rail would change the way freight is moved around Australia, offering a fast and efficient alternative to complement long-haul road transport along Australia’s east coast.

“Now more than ever, our investment in Inland Rail is vital to build resilience in the national freight network that provides an essential service to Australians – delivering the inputs needed to drive small business and fuel our national economy,” he said.

“Our commitment through the Interface Improvement Program will further enhance community and industry connectivity to Inland Rail, and ensure our producers and manufacturers remain competitive.”

McCormack said the complementary businesses, manufacturers, and logistics hubs that establish along this freight rail line will provide sustained employment for people in regional Australia and boost gross regional product by up to $13.3bn over the long term.

The 1,700-kilometre Inland Rail line will connect Melbourne, Brisbane and regional areas through fast and reliable freight rail and will create around 16,000 jobs during the construction phase, while supporting approximately 700 jobs once it is operational.

Moree Inland Rail regional office announces first Regional Liaison Officer

The first Inland Rail Regional Liaison Officer has been assigned to the lead the Moree Inland Rail regional office. 

The Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Cities and Regional Development appointed the position to long-time local resident Angela Doering.

Doering will work with communities and local businesses based from Narrabri in New South Wales to the Queensland border to help people benefit from Inland Rail. 

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development, Michael McCormack said it’s vital that we have specialist expertise working with businesses and local communities. 

“Inland Rail is expected to support 5,000 jobs in New South Wales and provide a boost of more than $2.5 billion to the state economy,” McCormack said.

“This office will provide the opportunity for Moree and surrounding communities to talk directly to Government about regional development outcomes and economic opportunities available ahead of the construction of the next section of Inland Rail – the Narrabri to North Star (N2NS).” 

Finance Minister Mathias Cormann said the opening of the Moree office will help build economic resilience in regional Australia.

“Investing in our national freight network will improve connections between our regional communities and important domestic and international markets, ensuring our producers and manufacturers remain globally competitive,” Cormann said.

Member for Parkes and Minister for Regional Services, Decentralisation and Local Government, Mark Coulton said Moree is one of the highest producing agricultural shires in Australia and the region is positioned to drive future freight productivity through road and rail connections to Inland Rail.

“Our investment through Inland Rail builds the essential connections that this region needs to further grow and strengthen their markets,” Coulton said.

He said he is thrilled Doering has been appointed to the Moree office.

“No one knows regional towns like the people who live there,” Coulton said.

Doering will support the implementation of Australian Government programs, including the Inland Rail Interface Improvement Program and expansion of the CSIRO’s Inland Rail TraNSIT study to model potential Inland Rail cost savings.

“The programs we’re delivering will better connect the region to far-reaching ports through an enhanced national network, creating new supply chains that build prosperity in the region – moving the wheat, barley and produce the region is famous for,” Coulton said.

She will also work with industry and community during Inland Rail’s planning and design for projects such as the Macintyre River crossing.

The Moree Office has joined a broader network of Inland Rail Regional Offices that will assist regional activities of Australian Government staff already established in Wodonga, Dubbo and Toowoomba offices.