The ceremony was attended by MP for Riverina, Mr Michael McCormack, and MP for Parkes, Mr Mark Coulton.

Phase 1 of the project included upgrading 98km of track and constructing 5.3km of new line. The project required:

  • $A 20m for 14,000 tonnes of rail supplied by Liberty OneSteel Whyalla, South Australia
  • $A 20m for 200,000 concrete sleepers supplied by Rocla, Mittagong
  • $A 13m worth of culverts weighing 26,625 tonnes from Holcim, Tamworth
  • 365,000 rail clips from Pandrol, Blacktown, and
  • $A 25m for 800,000 tonnes of ballast and capping from Parkes-based companies Calvani Crushing and Ausrock Quarries.

Australia’s finance minister, Mr Mathias Cormann, described Inland Rail as a once-in-a-generation project. “Long-haul rail is cheaper, safer and more reliable than road, that’s why the Australian government is enhancing the national freight rail network through our investment in Inland Rail,” he says. “The shift from road to rail builds resilience in our freight network. Not only will Inland Rail deliver a long-term freight solution for Australia to meet the needs of our growing population, it is also a critical investment supporting an efficient Australian economy.”

The Narrabri to North Star (N2NS) project is scheduled to commence construction later this year. Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC) shortlisted three construction firms in December 2019 to deliver the multi-million-dollar main works contract for the 171km section.

An in-depth update on the Inland Rail project will appear in the October issue of IRJ.