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Case Study: Inland Rail – Narrabri to North Star (Phase 1) ‘Excellent’ IS Design Rating

Inland Rail is a 1,700km fast freight backbone, providing freight transit times of less than 24 hours between Melbourne and Brisbane, that will transform how we move goods around Australia. Comprising 13 individual projects, Inland Rail is the largest freight rail infrastructure project in Australia and one of the most significant infrastructure projects in the world.

Narrabri to North Star (N2NS) is Inland Rail’s second project to enter construction and includes an upgrade of 186km of existing track and construction of 2.3km of new rail, crossing the local government areas of Narrabri, Gwydir and Moree Plains. The works will enable 1,800m-long double-stacked freight trains to operate.

Dividing the N2NS project into two phases allows Phase 1 construction – an upgrade of 171km of existing track – to continue, while planning and environmental approvals are gained for Phase 2.

Key aspects of Phase 1 construction include:
  • Five new crossing loops with associated maintenance sidings
  • Installing 220 rail culverts, 98 road culverts and additional irrigation crossings
  • Upgrading, relocating or consolidating almost 80 level crossings and five pedestrian crossings
  • Relocating power and telecommunications utilities
  • Modifying Moree Station and minor works at Bellata Station.

Key Statistics
  • 95% of existing track formation material and earthworks spoil to be re-used on site.
  • 24,775 tonnes innovative Australian steel rail designed and manufactured for the project
  • 600+ community information sessions held on the project to date.



Key achievements
  • Australian-first innovation for profiling rail during manufacturing instead of on-site during construction resulting in reduced cost, improved safety and track performance.
  • Innovative ARTC earthworks technical standards to enable reintegration of almost all existing track formation material and earthworks spoil into the new formation, resulting in reduced cost, material transport and waste generation.
  • Stakeholder engagement processes and activities independently audited and verified as providing a high level of engagement and clear, timely and relevant communication to the community.
  • Program-wide sustainability objectives and targets that aim to create positive community benefits implemented through project-specific Sustainability Management Plans.
It’s acknowledged this design rating achievement is the result of an important partnership between ARTC Inland Rail and its project technical and consulting services provider, Inland Rail Design Joint Venture (IRDJV), which was engaged to deliver the reference and detailed design for the project.

“We’re proud to be the first Inland Rail project to be certified for ISCA’s ‘excellent’ design rating which demonstrates that Inland Rail is genuinely delivering positive outcomes and striving to do the best we can for communities in our alignment”. Inland Rail Project Director Colin Forde
Project Name: Inland Rail – Narrabri to North Star (Phase 1)
Location: NSW
Proponents: ARTC Inland Rail
IS Verifiers: Monique Cornish and Angela Reidy
IS Project Manager: Ben Wade