proposals for upgrading Australia’s inter-state rail network have been unveiled by the Australian Rail Track Corp, which took control of the routes on July 1. With the Commonwealth government allocating A$250m over four years, ARTC has sought suggestions from operators, track owners and the state and federal transport departments.

The package is valued at around A$1·2bn, which would require additional funding from state or private-sector sources. ARTC has split the schemes into Priority 1 and Priority 2, ’to allow comparison and guide investment decisions’.

Many of the projects are intended to boost capacity, including the lengthening of crossing loops to 1500m, upgrading of signalling and control systems, and elimination of conflicting moves at key junctions. The other main element covers installation of concrete sleepers. o

TABLE: ARTC network upgrading proposals (A$m)

Priority 1: north-south corridor 321·2

Brisbane - Sydney Resleepering / track upgrading 68·0

Congestion reduction 48·2

Crossing loops / resignalling 6·0

Sydney - Cootamundra Congestion reduction 125·0

Cootamundra - Melbourne Resleepering 69·0

Crossing loops 5·0

Priority 1: east-west corridor 82·0

Parkes - Crystal Brook Crossing loops 5·0

Crystal Brook - Perth Resleepering 45·0

Crossing loops / resignalling 32·0

Priority 2: north-south corridor 274·2

Brisbane - Sydney Resleepering / track upgrading 85·0

Crossing loops / resignalling 16·0

Sydney - Melbourne Resleepering / track upgrading 143·0

Crossing loops / resignalling 30·2

Priority 2: east-west corridor 525·2

Sydney - Crystal Brook Resignalling 4·0

Melbourne - Crystal Brook Resleepering 140·0

Double-stack clearances 140·0

Congestion reduction * 180·2

Resignalling 5·0

Crystal Brook - Perth Track upgrading 56·0

*Proposed Adelaide Hills realignment