MAJOR construction of the Narrabri to North Star Phase 1 section of Inland Rail is set to be complete at the end of this month.
The section will reopen the line between North Star and Camurra, 8km north-east of Moree, to allow the resumption of services halted since 2021 to grain sites at Milguy, Croppa Creek, and North Star.
The upgraded track will allow freight customers to transport heavier freight volumes at higher speeds through its access to the Australian Rail Track Corporation Hunter Valley Rail Network which connects to export terminals at Newcastle.
Following Inland Rail upgrades, the line between Narrabri and South Moree has been operational since November 2022.
All up, the Narrabri-North Star section covers 176km of track, and ARTC contractor Trans4m Rail is now finishing and commissioning works along the alignment.
Following the commissioning of the Parkes-Narromine line in 2020, Inland Rail project director Narrabri to North Star Peter Borrelli said the section will be the second in the Inland Rail project to complete major construction.
“We are very proud to complete major construction on the Narrabri to North Star Phase 1 section of Inland Rail,” Mr Borrelli said.
“Together with our delivery partner Trans4m Rail, we have achieved a fantastic result which will bring benefits to local industry, rail operators and communities.
“I’d like to thank our customers for their patience as we completed the Narrabri to North Star Phase 1 works throughout previous work stages and tight possession windows.”
Five crossing loops, seven bridge upgrades, and improved safety at 57 level crossings have all been included in the design to improve safety and service reliability on the network.
Phase 2 of the project involves further upgrades and building 2km of new track north of Moree, and is currently in approvals, with Inland Rail now preparing a Preferred Infrastructure Report and a Response to Submissions for the NSW Department of Planning and Environment.
The Narrabri to North Star Phase 1 works will see improved efficiency and reliability on the main line, as well as boosting resilience to extreme weather events, with the track withstanding the worst flood in a decade to hit Moree late last year.
The project also brings telecommunications upgrades to rural NSW, with ARTC in partnership with Telstra delivering a $3.4M project to deliver improved connectivity for trains using the line.
Communities in North Star, Gurley, Croppa Creek, and Crooble are expected to benefit from enhanced telecommunications brought about by the project.