INLAND Rail has marked the start of construction on the 170km Stockinbingal - Parkes section in New South Wales with a launch event at Forbes station.

Martinus Rail has been awarded a $A 403.5m ($US 259.3m) contract to design and construct enhancement works on the Stockinbingal - Parkes and Albury - Illabo sections.

The Stockinbingal - Parkes works will include bridge upgrades and track lowering in Forbes to create the required height and width clearances for double-stack freight trains, with an additional passing loop to be built at Daroobalgie.

Map of the Inland Rail project. Credit: Inland Rail

Inland Rail has already completed the Parkes - Narromine section in New South Wales with major construction works also underway between Beveridge and Albury in Victoria. Inland Rail says the Australian government is taking a staged approach to delivering the project, with construction between Beveridge in Victoria and Parkes prioritised for completion by 2027.

“As part of the Inland Rail programme, $A 2.7bn in contracts has already been awarded to over 400 suppliers and businesses across the country, with more local businesses between Albury and Parkes to benefit from the new opportunities and supporting jobs,” says Inland Rail’s interim chief executive, Ms Rebecca Pickering.

Construction on the Inland Rail project to connect Melbourne and Brisbane with a new 1600km freight corridor through Victoria, New South Wales and Queensland started in 2018. Inland Rail will provide an alternative to the congested coastal route through Sydney. The project involves upgrading existing lines and some new construction.

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