The changes relate to most of Australia's interstate track linking Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide and through Kalgoorlie in Western Australia.

In the Hunter Valley, no change is anticipated to existing internal arrangements with continued use of contractors for track maintenance. From 2013-14 ARTC will tender annually for geographic packages of work.

ARTC CEO Mr John Fullerton says the change will involve bringing planning, inspection and reactive maintenance directly under the control and delivery of ARTC.

"We are reaching the end of a huge period of investment in rebuilding and modernising our interstate rail network," he says. "This new phase for asset maintenance will put ARTC in greater control of our assets so that we can continue to improve the service we offer our customers. The decision to bring maintenance in house is a reflection of the condition of our assets and the need to have a consistent approach across our network."

Fullerton says the changes were not a response to the performance of the alliance partners as they have provided high quality services to ARTC over many years.

The move will create around 200 new jobs within ARTC.

The new arrangements will come into effect in December 2012, with the exception of works planned for completion in 2013 including signalling works for the Metropolitan Freight Network in Sydney, and the Broken Hill – Whyalla re-railing project.

A number of functions are likely to remain contracted out, including ultrasonic rail flaw detection, rail and turnout grinding with the possibility of a national tamping contract and regional maintenance tamping contracts.