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Australian grain railways promised £180m upgrade

14 Sep 12 Australia’s New South Wales government has said that it will spend AU$277m (£180m) over the next five years upgrading almost 1,000km of grain railways.

NSW minister for roads and ports Duncan Gay provided an update on the planned maintenance and upgrade work. “We have a mantra in the O’Farrell government, and that is to ‘get the state moving again’,” he said. “To help achieve this, over the next five years the government will be spending more than a quarter of a billion dollars on maintenance and upgrade works to the state’s 996km of grain rail lines.”

He said that since coming to office in March 2011, the O’Farrell government has invested AU$61m on maintenance and upgrade works to the state’s grain lines with about 100 people actively working on the tracks each year. Work has already included the replacement of 109,000 old timber sleepers with modern steel sleepers and construction of 27 new bridges.

“We’re determined to improve the condition and reliability of country grain lines to attract more bulk freight onto rail, in the process easing pressure on rural and regional roads,” said Gay.

NSW government funding in 2012-13 will result in the replacement of 55,000 timber sleepers with modern steel sleepers, tamping 265km of track, upgrading of 22 level crossings, replacing or upgrading 16 rail bridges and culverts and laying of 20,000t ballast.

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