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The first track on the Melbourne to Brisbane Inland Rail project will be laid this year and the economic benefits are already starting to flow with 20 new jobs created in the Southern Highlands to produce 200,000 concrete sleepers for the first stage of the project in NSW.
The sleepers have already begun rolling off the production line at Rocla’s Braemar concrete sleeper plant in Mittagong after the company was awarded a $20 million contract for the work.
Rail company Pacific National is also benefiting by making the first delivery of sleepers to Peak Hill near Parkes last month in preparation for construction. Over the next six months, Pacific National will run a train once a week from Mittagong to Peak Hill carrying around 9,000 concrete sleepers each trip.
Inland Rail programme delivery director Simon Thomas said the concrete sleeper contract was another example of Australian businesses benefiting from the transformational Inland Rail project.
“Inland Rail is already securing jobs in regional Australia and our cities. The benefits of Inland Rail will be seen far beyond the Inland Rail route, and these 20 extra jobs in the Southern Highlands are just the beginning,” Mr Thomas said.
“The 200,000 concrete sleepers required for the Parkes to Narromine section of Inland Rail is the first of 1.5 million that will be required to build the full 1,700 km length of the Inland Rail from Brisbane to Melbourne, opening a pipeline of further opportunities for Australian suppliers.
“Inland Rail is a truly national project. The track between Parkes and Narromine will have Whyalla steel rail, Mittagong concrete sleepers and other material contracts from all over Australia will be announced shortly.”
Pacific National president of freight Andrew Adam said Inland Rail will be a ‘game changer’ for regional producers, businesses and exporters wanting to transport their goods and commodities safer, faster and cheaper to the major ports of Melbourne, Brisbane and Sydney.
“Pacific National is proud to be part of the construction of Inland Rail, providing a service where each freight train will haul around 2,500 tonnes of concrete sleepers 400 kilometres from Mittagong to Parkes. When it comes to hauling bulk freight, rail is the safest, most efficient and environmentally-friendly mode of transport – to move 200,000 concrete sleepers by road would take a thousand B-double trucks,” Mr Adam said
Rocla general manager Bruce Nicholson said the company employed more than 600 people and it had a long history of supplying ARTC and other Australian rail companies.
“Rocla has successfully delivered infrastructure solutions across Australia for 96 years and we are delighted to be a key supplier for this nation-building program,” Mr Nicholson said.
“Our highly skilled team at Braemar is keen to work on this contract and we look forward to offering additional job opportunities in the region.”
This article first appeared on www.illawarramercury.com.au
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