Image for Steel delivery kickstarts Inland Rail project

Liberty OneSteel has supplied the first batch of rail for the new Melbourne to Brisbane Inland Rail project.

In a major milestone for the Inland Rail project, the first deliveries of 14,000 tonnes of steel rail for Australia’s game-changing Melbourne to Brisbane Inland Rail project were made to Parkes this week.

The contract to provide steel rail for the first phase of the 1700km Inland Rail link was awarded to Liberty OneSteel in late 2017. At 60 kilograms of steel per metre, the rail is easily able to accommodate the Inland Rail standard of double-stack trains of up to 1800m in length travelling at 115km/h with a 21-tonne axle load. Up to 262,000 tonnes of steel, including rail, reinforcing and structural steel for the project’s bridges, culverts and sleepers, will be required to deliver the project in full.

With contracts signed, deliveries of rail from Liberty OneSteel’s to the Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC) at Port Augusta commenced in December. The rails were supplied to ARTC as 27.5m lengths for welding into 165m lengths. These were then loaded onto specialist ‘rail trains’ to be delivered by rail to the site in Parkes.

Brenton Marcinkowski, Liberty OneSteel’s Sales Manager Rail Products, said there were significant advantages in the Whyalla and Port Augusta sites being near each other and having such a close working relationship. “Liberty OneSteel’s unique relationship with ARTC, forged over many years of close partnership, has put the businesses in a unique position to deliver to this critical infrastructure project,” he said.

Marcinkowski says Liberty OneSteel has been agile in its approach to the Inland Rail project, in spite of its considerable size.

“Our first deliveries to ARTC in Port Augusta were within a few weeks of the contracts being agreed,” he said. “Working closely with ARTC on this project  and other upcoming projects within Victoria , we are developing innovative solutions to the customers’ unique requirements, which are expected to deliver substantial post-installation benefits.”

Federal Member for Riverina Michael McCormack said the project would drive new opportunities in regional and remote communities, including in the Riverina. “We are already reaping the benefits with Australian-produced steel being supplied by Liberty OneSteel Whyalla Steelworks for this project, which is great for the economy and securing Australian jobs,” he said.

The ARTC says the Inland Rail is “a once-in-a-generation project” that will connect regional Australia with domestic and international markets. 

“It will complete the ‘spine’ of the national freight network between Melbourne and Brisbane via regional Victoria, New South Wales and Queensland,” the ARTC says. “It’s the largest freight rail infrastructure project in Australia, with early works to start this year, and is expected to be operational in 2024–2025.”

Image: Liberty OneSteel rail destined for the Melbourne to Brisbane Inland Rail