The Australian Government granted Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC) all primary environmental and planning approvals to move ahead with the Inland Rail Beveridge – Albury rail section in Victoria. With this milestone, ARTC can award the design and construction contract for the first construction sites in Victoria.
The approval follows the Victorian Government’s endorsement of the project’s Environment Report and approval of the associated environmental management framework in early September, and gazettal of the Planning Scheme Amendment earlier this year.
The environmental management framework guides how Inland Rail will meet regulatory requirements to manage the environment within project areas across north-east Victoria. It identifies potential impacts on native vegetation, habitat and biodiversity values associated with listed threatened species and communities and sets out conditions that must be met to mitigate these impacts.
The construction of the section will be undertaken at 12 sites between Beveridge and Albury to provide sufficient horizontal and vertical clearance for double-stacked freight trains to safely pass.
The existing rail corridor runs mostly along the Hume Highway, from the Murray River at Wodonga to the outskirts of Melbourne. The line shares the regional Victorian rail corridor (V/Line) from Seymour to Beveridge.
The Beveridge – Albury rail section is part of the 305 km mainline between Tottenham and Albury spanning from the metropolitan Melbourne to Albury – Wodonga, at the border between Victoria and New South Wales. The work will be split into two sections with the first one covering ack slews, utilities and signal gantry modifications at multiple locations along the rail corridor, as well as works at four sites. The work on the second section will be delivered at eight sites which are at different stages of design.
The works at sites include lowering the rail track under road bridges, removing footbridges and the existing bridges and replacing with taller bridges, building a pedestrian underpass, moving track in some places, and relocating or raising railway signal gantries.
Currently Inland Rail works continue on the Narrabri – North Star (N2NS) section that is nearly 200 km in length and being built in two phases. Phase one has three stages, 57 km of track from north of Narrabri to Penneys Road, 28 km of track from Penneys Road to South Moree, completed in 2021, and 80 km of track from Camurra to North Star. The construction of phase one of the section will see the existing rail corridor upgraded to being able to accommodate double-stacked trains up to 1.8 km in length. Phase two of the N2NS project will see 15 km existing track upgraded and the construction of a 2.3 km track between Moree and Camurra.