Transport Minister, Mark Bailey, met with rail staff in Longreach last week to inspect progress on more than $90 million in rail infrastructure upgrades to the central west line.
The works involve the replacement of 109 timber rail bridges, and more than 240,000 timber sleepers between Emerald and Clermont and Emerald and Winton.
“These maintenance and upgrade works will ensure we continue to safely and reliably connect both freight and passenger services along the central west line, as well as tourist favourite Spirit of the Outback,” Mr Bailey said.
“Our regional rail network provides a critical link for local supply chains and communities, which is why we’re committed to improving rail infrastructure in this important part of Queensland.
“The $44 million replacement of timber sleepers between Emerald and Clermont and Emerald and Winton, which are nearing the end of their service life, will improve the safety, reliability and longevity of the line.
“Sleeper replacement between Emerald and Clermont and Emerald and Jericho has now been completed, with sleepers between Jericho and Winton due to be completed by November 2019.
“Queensland Rail has also been busy with a $48 million replacement of timber rail bridges with more durable and long-lasting steel and concrete structures with a 100-year lifespan.
“Between Emerald and Clermont and Emerald and Winton, 109 timber bridges have been replaced, with the most recent completed in February this year.
“The new bridges will not only improve the service life of the Central West line, but also significantly decrease bridge maintenance costs along this 704-kilometre corridor.
Mr Bailey said the projects had also boosted the local economy, with local contractors and suppliers engaged wherever possible, including bridge componentry sourced from Rockhampton.
“We are committed to supporting jobs and growth in regional economies, and it’s pleasing to see a hive of activity along the corridor.”
Mr Bailey said it was fantastic to meet with dedicated railway staff in Longreach.
“It’s fantastic to come out to Longreach and meet the hard working staff behind these important rail improvement projects. It is projects like these that help keep regions thriving, from employment, to economic uplift,” he said.
“The line to Winton was finished more than 100 years ago and has been serving the community ever since. With these upgrades well underway, the central west line will be serving this beautiful part of the state for many years to come.”