Investing in the future of freight
The Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC) is an unashamed champion of rail freight, and is making big moves to expand its network to support sustainable supply chains across the country.
Perhaps its most well known project – Inland Rail – is now well underway, with the project to ultimately deliver rail freight transit times of less than 24 hours between Melbourne and Brisbane.
The massive project spanning three states will create more than 16,000 jobs during construction and will ultimately reduce freight costs, better link businesses and producers to markets and move more freight off the roads and onto rail.
But there is a great deal more underway at ARTC.
The $252 Adelaide to Tarcoola network upgrade in South Australia has recently been completed, allowing customers to run heavier trains on a 600km section of the interstate network.
The project used more than 72,000 tonnes of Australian rail steel, procured from Whyalla for the project.
In Victoria, the North East Rail Line works continue, with the project expected to be completed next year.
ARTC is also progressing plans for the Botany Rail Line Duplication and Cabramatta Loop in New South Wales.
The projects will increase the capacity of the network between Port Botany and the future Moorebank Intermodal Terminal, getting more freight onto rail and off busy Sydney roads.
They were given planning approval by the New South Wales Government this year, paving the way for both projects to be completed by 2024.
This significant program of works will help meet the nation’s growing freight task over the coming decades, and support stronger supply chains across the country.
Of course, making the most of such a significant program of investment requires a focus on future proofing the network.
ARTC have implemented three key projects to modernise the network and ensure the rail freight sector remains a competitive and sustainable option for years to come.
The organisation’s Advanced Train Management System (ATMS) is set to improve capacity, flexibility, safety and reliability on the network.
Meanwhile ARTC Network Control Optimisation (ANCO) is driving the digital future of the network, using technology to increase efficiency, reduce transit times and allowing customers to increase contracted tonnage.
The program has been deployed across ARTC’s Hunter Valley network and will be rolled out across the business in the next two years.
Wayside technologies are also being installed on the network, to help provide better insights into the use and performance of the network over time.
These projects and initiatives reflect an impressive and significant program of work, which this year have progressed against the backdrop of COVID-19.
With demand for reliable freight services heightened during the pandemic, the role of freight has never been more important.
ARTC worked around the clock to help move critical supplies across the country to keep shelves stocked and the nation’s supply chain intact.
It was a complex logistical challenge, with close engagement with government and health authorities to ensure strict measure to protect the health and safety of ARTC’s people and communities, while ensuring the continued safety operation of the network.
Despite the challenges of the year, ARTC has kept working – and kept hiring – with its workforce rising from 1550 people to 1800 over the past year.