BOGGABRI’S damaged rail line will be open five days earlier than expected, after repair and construction works progressed ahead of schedule this week.
The works to the Coxs Creek Bridge, just south of the town, are running on schedule.
The Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC) yesterday confirmed the bridge and track would return to service on Thursday afternoon.
It’s a welcome relief for farmers and miners across the North West, who have sought alternative trucking transport options for their commodities since the line went down after a train derailment on Wednesday, November 28.
Despite the significant damage caused to the bridge, a
quarantine period for safety investigations to take place and removal of the wagons, the ARTC now expects the bridge to return to service five days – depending on the weather – earlier than previously predicted.
An ARTC spokesman said it was a sizeable repair and construction job, but thanks to the team on the ground and the good weather they were able to make steady progress.
“We’ve been acutely aware of the interest in returning the rail line to service as soon as possible, and the ability to bring forward the expected timeframe is a testament to the hard work of the engineering and construction team at the site,” the spokesman said.
As part of the repairs, scaffolding has been set up around a number of the bridge’s piers.
Concrete has been poured and now the bridge is going through a curing process, to enable the concrete to strengthen, during the next few days.
The spokesman said, structurally, some piers were damaged quite badly and, as a result, four had to be demolished and rebuilt.
“We have also built up the embankment at the city end of the bridge with additional rock base – this process was completed yesterday evening,” they said.
More than 40 construction staff, including some from engineering firm Dubbo Bridge and Civil, have been involved in the massive repair job.
Heavy equipment at the site include 30-tonne excavators, 30-tonne dump trucks, a 100-tonne crane, a pin jib crane and an elevated work platform, known as a scissor lift.
Six water carts are also in operation to help minimise dust.
The ARTC spokesman said the community had been very patient with the traffic and construction activity in the area.
“We are pleased to be able to restore freight transport well before Christmas,” the spokesman said.