Inland Rail is a $A 11bn project to develop a new 1700km line between Melbourne and Brisbane, which is split into 13 sections. Trans4m Rail was selected ahead of other shortlisted bidders Lendlease and the RailFirst joint venture of Downer EDI and Seymour White. 

ARTC Inland Rail CEO, Mr Richard Wankmuller, said Inland Rail had been consulting with key landholders, businesses and local government officials for some time on how Inland Rail would benefit those on the Narrabri to North Star alignment. 

“Over the past 18 months there has been 341,225 sleepers from Mittagong and Wagga Wagga and 24,775 tonnes of Whyalla steel delivered to the alignment in preparation for works to start,” Wankmuller says. “Construction is expected to deliver more than 500 jobs to the area and will help our national economy rebuild in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.” 

The Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for N2NS Phase 1 was approved by federal and state regulatory bodies in October. The second phase involves work on the Mehi - Gwydir floodplain, which requires a separate EIS process, as well as construction of new track at Camurra. 

Meanwhile, ARTC has invited three consortia to submit proposals for the Inland Rail section from Gowrie, outside Toowoomba, to Kagaru, near Beaudesert in Queensland, to be delivered as a public-private partnership (PPP). 

Capstone, comprising CPB Contractors, Ghella, UGL, DIF, Pacific Partnerships; G2Konnect, comprising Acciona, Ferrovial, Cintra and Macquarie; and Regionerate Rail, comprising Clough, GS Engineering and Construction, Webuild, Lend Lease Services and Plenary Group, will now enter the Request for Proposal (RFP) phase for the contract, which includes construction of a 6.2km tunnel through the Toowoomba Range - the longest diesel freight rail tunnel in the southern hemisphere. 

“The PPP will deliver the 128km Gowrie - Kagaru section and will include construction of three tunnels and numerous viaducts, bridges and crossing loops,” Wankmuller says. “The geology and topography of this section, mostly located within protected corridors, poses many challenges which have required us to undertake a lot of site investigations to obtain a better understanding of the conditions and inform the final design.” 

A contract for the section is due to be awarded in 2022.  

The developments follow the completion of the Parkes - Narromine section in New South Wales (NSW) on September 15.  

For detailed data on rail projects in Australia and around the world, subscribe to IRJ Pro. 

For more on Inland Rail, see the October 2020 issue of IRJ, p22, or click here.