NEXT week the Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC) will be carrying out a major maintenance shutdown on the Hunter Valley Coal Network from Newcastle to Ulan and Turrawan, from 6.30am on Tuesday, September 22 until 6.30am on Friday September 25.
The passenger rail network will be temporarily closed on Tuesday, September 22 and Wednesday, September 23 outside peak hours and alternative bus services will be provided for impacted passenger services.
Details and schedules can be found at the Transport NSW website.
Approximately 1000 workers will conduct over 500 separate maintenance jobs including upgrading more than 3500 metres of track formation, replacing 13,200 metres of rail, tamping 34 level crossings and other scheduled maintenance activities.
Wayne Johnson, ARTC General Executive Hunter Valley Network said level crossings will be getting special attention to ensure a safe and reliable network throughout the Hunter.
“Tamping the levels crossings allows safer access across the railway crossings for vehicle traffic,” Mr Johnson said.
“A tamping machine is used to pack (or tamp) the track ballast under railway tracks to make the tracks more durable,” he said.
“The base of the level crossing is replaced and stabilised to improve the geometry of the track and this also helps improve the surface so vehicles will experience a smoother ride as a result,” he said.
Mr Johnson said level crossings were the focus of a recent Rail Safety Week campaign and motorists need to take extra care to slow down and look both ways before crossing, as freight trains are expected to increase in NSW during the upcoming grain season.
“There are more than 23,500 level crossings in Australia, 21 percent are active, with boom gates and flashing lights and 79 percent of them are passive with a Stop or Give Way sign,” Mr Johnson said.
“Tragically, every year too many people lose their lives in level crossing collisions, while there are more than 1,000 ‘near misses’ each year, the difference between a fatal collision and a near collision can be just seconds,” he said.
“That’s why it’s so important that we continue to educate our communities that trains always have the right of way and simply cannot stop quickly, it can take a freight train up to two kilometres to stop after applying its emergency brakes,” he said.
“The message is simple for level crossing, Stop, Look, Listen and Think,” Mr Johnson said.
Traffic control will be in place during the maintenance work to guide traffic around closures, with Traffic Management Plans available for closed public level crossings.
The next major maintenance shutdown is scheduled from November 17-20, 2020.
For further details click here.