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Inland Rail Project

Project Overview

Comprising 13 individual projects, the Inland Rail will provide a dedicated Melbourne to Brisbane freight rail link and consist of approximately 1,700 km of new and upgraded track to achieve a transit time of less than 24 hours.

In September 2020 the first Inland Rail project, the Parkes to Narromine (P2N) section was completed and successfully commissioned. The 104 km section used a new suite of earthworks specifications developed by the SAJV.

Key benefits of the project will remove freight transport off the congested road network, address Australia's long-term freight challenge and enable a cost effective and efficient movement of goods across Australia’s vast east coast.

Financial forecasting has also predicted an increase in regional economic growth through investment opportunities along the route, and the connection to key production areas in Queensland, New South Wales and Victoria and export ports in Brisbane and Melbourne.

Our Role

A joint venture of SMEC and Arup (SAJV) is providing Technical and Engineering Advisory services to the Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC) for the Inland Rail Project.

SAJV is providing a team of subject matter experts who are working collaboratively alongside ARTC's Inland Rail team in the delivery of approximately 1,700 km of new and upgraded track.

In addition to providing program-wide and project-specific advisory services, the team has developed a range of technical strategies including standard design drawings, program requirements specifications and social performance reporting framework. As the program progresses to the next phase, the team is undertaking reviews across several projects to ensure the most efficient solutions are presented to the client.

During the concept development phase, SAJV identified an alternative method for earthworks from the typical prescriptive approach. The performance-based solution provides a more efficient and cost-effective method for the client which would see significant savings as formation and bulk earthworks is almost a third of the capital cost of the project.

The SAJV recommendation to move from the traditional prescriptive earthworks to a performance-based approach provides an agile solution to overcome the varying geotechnical and technical challenges that had been identified along the route and requires the sourcing of materials for the various soil types. The performance-based method allows for design improvements, new methods of construction and materials sourcing that does not require high volumes of high-grade materials being imported. The performance-based approach is estimated to save the project in excess of $100 million in costs and has resulted in the development of two new Earthworks Specifications.

Technical Area:
Australian Rail Track Corporation

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