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Australia awards contract for 171km of rail upgrades

10 Nov 20 The Australian government has awarded a contract worth AU$693m (£384m) for rail upgrades between Narrabri and North Star.

The scale and complexity of the section has led to work being split into two phases, starting with the upgrade of 171km of existing track. The work will be carried out by Trans4m Rail, a joint venture of John Holland and SEE Civil.

In December 2019, three firms were shortlisted to deliver the main works contract and entered into a formal request for tender process from which Trans4m Rail was appointed. Further design work will progress on the second phase of Narrabri to North Star construction, which will see the development of an environmental impact statement for the construction of new track between Moree and Camurra.

“Inland Rail is going to change the freight task in Australia and in doing so will create opportunity in regional Australia with unprecedented investment and job creation,” said deputy prime minister Michael McCormack. “This nationally significant infrastructure is being built by the skills and expertise of Australian businesses – businesses that invest locally, drive regional employment and give back to communities along this 1,700km corridor of commerce.”

Over the past 18 months, 341,225 sleepers and 24,775 tonnes of steel have been delivered to the area in preparation for works to start.

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Construction is expected to deliver more than 500 jobs to the area.

“With the award of this contract, there will be flow-on effects through the economy with more local businesses and suppliers set to come on-board and support Inland Rail construction,” said minister for finance Simon Birmingham. “The upgrade of another 171km of track is another important piece in the puzzle to delivering better and quicker freight access to our primary producers in regional Australia, helping them get their product to markets in Australia and overseas with more ease.”

“Trans4m Rail has made a commitment to employ local people, engage local businesses and suppliers and work with communities in north west New South Wales to ensure the benefits of Inland Rail are felt throughout the community,” said minister for regional health, regional communications and local government Mark Coulton.

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