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Major work on an upgrade to the Blue Mountains rail line to allow new intercity trains to travel to Lithgow will begin in February after $75 million in contracts were inked.
The upgrade will involve track and signalling work, and extensions of platforms at Mount Victoria, Katoomba and Lithgow stations. Modifications will also be made to tunnels built early last century between Mount Victoria and Lithgow so that the new trains can pass through safely.
The government has signed up Lendlease's engineering division and CPB Contractors as part of $75 million of work to be carried out jointly with the state's transport agency.
A prototype of the new intercity trains, which will start to enter service late next year. CREDIT:JANIE BARRETT
The start of the upgrade early next year will mean that the new intercity trains being built in Korea will be able to run on the line to Lithgow in mid-2020.
Transport Minister Andrew Constance said the vast majority of the upgrade would be carried out during scheduled trackwork when replacement buses would be put on to ferry passengers.
"Parts of our network are over 150 years old and these upgrades are necessary to ensure it can accommodate the requirements of modern trains," he said.
"We always intended to modify rail infrastructure on the Blue Mountains line west of Springwood, so that the new intercity fleet trains can operate all the way to Lithgow."
Buses will replace trains between Lithgow and Mount Victoria on weekdays from February 11 to 15, and from 18-22 during the first phase of the major upgrade work.
The government said the $75 million contract to upgrade the line was part of the $2.3 billion budget for the new intercity trains, which will include 512 double-deck carriages.
This article first appeared on www.smh.com.au
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