THERE will be a “brief but intense” 62 hours of maintenance work on the Hunter Valley rail network during its second major planned close-down of the year.
The Australian Rail Track Corporation’s (ARTC) Hunter Valley team started work at 6.30am this morning and will continue until 8.30pm on Thursday.
Involving more than 1000 frontline workers doing more than 120 projects valued at about $21 million, the works will include bridge repairs, re-railing, track conditioning, signal works, turn-out renewals, ballast cleaning and other general track corridor maintenance.
The work will take place over a 500km section of rail network from Kooragang (Port of Newcastle) through to Narrabri; and the railway line between Muswellbrook to Ulan.
“Months of planning, resourcing and risk assessment go into these events, as we only have a short period of time and we aim to accomplish as much as possible, but safety is our overriding concern,” ARTC Hunter Valley group executive Wayne Johnson said.
Traffic controls will be in place on various public roads and level crossings.
“The Hunter Valley network is one of the most complex rail networks in the country and we need to maintain and upgrade it regularly to ensure its high standards of efficiency and safety,” Mr Johnson said.
“But we do not get complacent about the work involved and this is reflected in our strong safety performance.
“In February this year we conducted our third consecutive major track close-down with no lost time injuries or medically treated injuries reported.
“[This] is a great achievement considering more than 4000 people have worked on more than 375 individual jobs.”
Mr Johnson asked the community to take care during the latest works.
“We would like to thank the community for its patience while this work takes place.
“They are very understanding and we appreciate their co-operation,” he said.
“Heavy machinery and specialist equipment will be in use, with trucks entering and existing work sites.
“So we also ask the community to plan ahead, especially where there are road detours and traffic management is operating.”
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