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Minister for Roads and Freight Duncan Gay confirmed that the Baird Government is on track to meet its historic investment of $277 million to upgrade grain rail lines in country NSW.

“Since July 2012, the Liberals & Nationals Government has spent $192 million – or 70 per cent of the overall investment program – to upgrade grain rail lines in country NSW,” Mr Gay said.

“With the five year investment program running until July 2017, I’m fearful it will come to a grinding halt if Labor is elected – it’s a party with an appalling past record for supporting agriculture and regional rail and road freight.”

Since July 2012, the NSW Liberals & Nationals Government has delivered the following upgrades and repairs to the state’s 996 kilometres of grain rail lines:

  • Replaced 370,000 old timber sleepers with modern long life steel sleepers with major works on the Bogan Gate to Tottenham, The Rock to Boree Creek, Ungarie to Lake Cargelligo, Dubbo to Coonamble, Nevertire to Warren lines and Burren Junction to Walgett lines.
  • Resurfaced* 1,400 kilometres of track (some lengths of rail line need to be resurfaced several times).
  • Constructed 60 new bridges and culverts, including significant work on a bridge replacement at Humbug Creek near Ungarie and the upgrade of 15 culverts as part of the Dubbo to Coonamble re-railing project.
  • Upgraded 48 level crossings and laid 205,000 tonnes of new ballast (blue metal).
  • Completed the re-railing of 57 kilometres of track from Armatree to Coonamble with heavy rail, allowing more efficient and reliable train operations along the entire 150 kilometre length of the Troy Junction to Coonamble grain rail line. Re-railing involves replacing old lighter rail steel with heavier steel rails, thereby allowing the use of higher axle load weights.
  • Re-railed a section of the Boree Creek line from the main south corridor to the Emerald grain terminal near The Rock, allowing main line locomotives to haul from the terminal to Port Kembla.
  • Re-railed from Auscott to Namoi Cotton on the Nevertire to Warren line to allow main line locomotives to operate all the way from the Namoi Cotton facility to Port Botany.

Minister Gay said these major works are greatly improving the durability and condition of the grain rail lines for many years to come.

“If re-elected, the Baird Government’s Rebuilding NSW Infrastructure Plan will inject an extra $400 million to expand and fast track upgrades and repairs to regional rail lines via a program called Fixing Country Rail,” Mr Gay said.

*Resurfacing, also known as tamping, involves large mobile track machines lifting and precisely positioning the railway track while simultaneously compacting the ballast below and around the sleepers to keep the track in the right position. This process results in the track being in the correct position with a smooth surface. Trains ride efficiently and smoothly on the track and the track is more durable after resurfacing.

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