Eighty per cent of the items transported on land between Australia’s east and west coast is by rail, making the intercapital freight network between Melbourne and Perth a critical link in the national supply chain. In addition, the rail corridor is utilised by regional mineral and agricultural producers in South Australia.
It’s under significant strain at the moment, however, due to steady growth in east-west bulk freight. With mining and agricultural production set to continue to expand in coming years and some sections of the track approaching the end of their asset life, an upgrade to the network is needed if travel times, reliability and productivity aren’t to be impacted.
An initiative to accelerate the re-railing of the Adelaide – Tarcoola Rail section of the track is currently underway, with old tracks being replaced with approximately 73,000 tonnes of heavier, stronger steel supplied by Liberty OneSteel. The re-railing program will facilitate higher axle loads, thereby allowing heavier and more efficient freight trains to operate at faster speeds.
Local suppliers have already benefited from investment in the project. As well as supporting steel manufacturing in South Australia, the project has created a number of jobs in regional areas of the state.
The upgrade to the line resonates with historical significance. It’s been 100 years since the Trans-Australian Railway was first laid across 1700km of dry and isolated terrain, providing a link between Australia’s eastern states and Western Australia and helping forge a sense of national unity. Image courtesy of ARTC