ESSENTIAL MAINTENANCE GETS REGION’S RAIL NETWORK ON TRACK

Wednesday, 14 December 2016

NORTHERN State MPs Kevin Anderson and Adam Marshall say a major rail maintenance project between West Tamworth and Armidale has now been completed, improving the train ride and reliability of services for local rail passengers.

The Tamworth MP and Parliamentary Secretary for Regional Roads and Rail, Kevin Anderson, and Mr Marshall, the Northern Tablelands MP and Parliamentary Secretary for Northern NSW, said the 50km of major track maintenance had been undertaken between Armidale and Wollun, just north of the Walcha Road rail station.

“This is great news for the New England region, with more than 60,000 old timber sleepers replaced with new long-life steel sleepers in that stretch of the line,” Mr Anderson said.

Mr Marshall said the completion of the project means the northern train travelling public can look forward to more reliable services as a result of the vital upgrades.

“By resurfacing more than 50 kilometres of track and laying out more than 15,000 tonnes of stone to support the track along the West Tamworth to Armidale line, passengers can now enjoy a smoother ride as they journey through regional NSW,” Mr Anderson said.

“The resurfacing of track means train trips won’t be as bumpy, and replacing sleepers means trains won’t be slowed down by maintenance work.”

Mr Marshall said the work had taken six months to complete and thanked the community for their patience.

“Track work can often mean slight delays which can be frustrating at times so I’m sure the community will be happy to see the work finally completed,” Mr Marshall said.

“The successful delivery of this project will help reduce costs for future maintenance work and customers can enjoy an improved regional rail network.”

The works began from Armidale and have finished at Wollun, about 81km north of the West Tamworth junction.

They are part of a NSW Government investment of $18 million in maintenance work including the replacement of older timber sleepers and resurfacing of the track to improve efficiency and reliability along the important rail corridor.

But while the two Nationals MPs have welcomed the upgrade, they’re also united in their call to have the aged Xplorer train fleet fast-tracked, saying the current fleet is becoming increasingly unreliable.

“Our community is crying out for a better rail service. If we want to increase our passenger numbers then we need to provide a service that is reliable and comfortable,” Mr Anderson said.

“It has got to the stage where the age of the fleet and break downs is having a significant impact on the reliability of the service and this must be addressed by the government,” Mr Marshall said.

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