QR National is on target to meet delivery timeframes for the Wiggins Island Rail Project (WIRP) in Central Queensland with early works commencing across project site locations.
WIRP involves the staged development of new rail lines and upgrading of existing lines to service the new Wiggins Island Coal Export Terminal (WICET) at the Port of Gladstone.
QR National Network Executive Vice President Michael Carter said the project would create a vital link between WICET and the mines in central Queensland.
“This project is one of the largest rail expansions in Australia. It follows closely on the heels of QR National’s recently-opened Northern Missing Link which is part of $1.1 billion Goonyella to Abbot Point expansion,” he said.
“The project will support the initial 27 million tonnes per annum of coal to WICET and leverage our existing rail infrastructure to boost coal exports from the southern end of the Bowen Basin by 30%.
“We’ve moved quickly to finalise engineering designs and release tender packages for civil work following the September signing of the commercial agreement for the project with our customers.”
Work for Stage One of WIRP will take place across three key worksites — the Balloon Loop, Rocklands to Stanwell Duplication and Moura East — from March when major civil construction contracts are awarded.
Early works commenced in January at the Balloon Loop site near Gladstone, with signalling alliance Aspect 3 preparing the site for construction. Signalling work will also begin on the Rocklands to Stanwell Duplication near Gracemere by the end of February. Track upgrade works on the Moura System near Biloela will begin in March.
Tender packages for the civil works at the Balloon Loop were released last week, with the other major civil contracts to follow. Contracts will be awarded in April, followed by the commencement of major earthworks in May.
The first project deliverable — the upgrade of Beaks Level Crossing at the Balloon Loop — has been completed and is expected to be commissioned later this month.
Mr Carter said WIRP would be delivered in a number of stages over the coming years in line with the demand for coal exports and associated transportation services.
“Construction aligns with the time frames for the proposed coal export terminal and the development of related mining projects. First railings are scheduled for mid-2014 and overall project completion by March 2015,” he said.
“The project will generate significant benefits for the Central Queensland economy, creating up to 3,000 direct and indirect jobs during the construction phase and drawing on the services of many local companies and suppliers.”
WIRP includes construction of a 13 kilometre balloon loop near Gladstone, upgrades to sections of the North Coast Line, the Moura System and the Bauhinia branch line, as well as duplication of sections of track along the Blackwater System. Upon completion, the mainline Blackwater System will be fully duplicated.
QR National has held a series of information sessions for the communities neighbouring the project, including at Yarwun, Gracemere and Jambin.
Aspect3 is a signalling alliance comprising QR National and Invensys Rail.
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