Companies asked to register interest in building first section of rail link

Federal Member for Parkes Mark Coulton, Transport Minister Darren Chester and Riverina Member Michael McCormack discuss the opening of Inland Rail tenders.
Federal Member for Parkes Mark Coulton, Transport Minister Darren Chester and Riverina Member Michael McCormack discuss the opening of Inland Rail tenders.

Construction companies have been called on to register their interest with the Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC) in building the Parkes to Narromine section of the Inland Rail project.

A shortlist of companies will be selected from the ARTC’s Registration of Interest process and invited to proceed to a formal Expressions of Interest phase.

ARTC program delivery director for Inland Rail Simon Thomas said work on the upgrade of line between Parkes and Narromine is expected to start in 2018.

“What we need to do is upgrade the already existing 107km rail corridor between Parkes and Narromine that is operated by ARTC as part of our interstate rail network,” he said. “The work will involve upgrading the track, track formation and culverts in preparation for double-stacked, 1.8km trains.

“We also need to provide three new crossing loops at Goonumbla, Peak Hill, and Timjelly.”

Mr Thomas said there would be more opportunities for industry to benefit.

“We will be following a rigorous process to appoint the right construction partners and suppliers for the each of the 13 Inland Rail sections,” he said.

Public exhibition for the project’s Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) closed on August 18 and 14 public submissions were received.  

“With the EIS for the Parkes to Narromine section currently being considered by the NSW Government, ARTC is getting construction-ready,” he said.

Federal Member for Riverina Michael McCormack, said the Inland Rail project was a vital link for regional and rural businesses.

“There are more than 15,000 small businesses in the Riverina and Central West, with around a third of them being farmers,” he said.

“Parkes is the place where the north-south and the east-west rail lines intersect in Australia.

Federal Infrastructure and Transport Minister Darren Chester said the project will support thousands of jobs across regional Australia, creating 16,000 direct and indirect jobs at the peak of construction.