Unlocking economic potential in the regions
The Inland Rail Program is federally funded, and seeks to deliver a reliable, fast, and high-capacity rail network between Brisbane and Melbourne. WSP provided our complete multidisciplinary team’s extertise, and extensive Inland Rail Program knowledge to the project, which supported it’s accelerated design stages and early completion in September 2020.
The Parkes to Narromine (P2N) railway is the first piece of the wider Inland Rail Program to be delivered, and at 1700km long, the section is Australia’s largest freight rail infrastructure project. It will contribute to faster, more reliable freight transport, and unlock export potential. Once the entire inland rail program is complete, it will take less than 24 hours to travel from Melbourne to Brisbane, greatly increasing freight capability and economic growth possibilities in the inland regions.
Our sustainable solution
WSP, in joint venture with Mott MacDonald provided detailed design and construction phase services that exceeded sustainability targets and maximised value using circular economy principles.
More than 98% of the existing steel railway was able to be resued, and nearly 47,000 timber sleepers were recycled for the project.
WSP’s Geotechnical team contributed to further cost savings by using 297,000 metres square of recycled or reclaimed ballast and ash from the existing embankment for the formation of the new corridor.
Our services included site investigation, environmental planning approvals, and engineering design including hydrology, track and formation, rail signalling, and civil, structure, and utilities.
Environmental considerations and social contribution
To mitigate the environmental impacts of the railway, WSP took an innovative approach at the design stage to reduce the size of the construction impact zone. The ongoing refinement and reduction of the footprint reduced offset requirements, and also produced financial savings.
The possibility of flooding was also an important consideration, as the flat terrain where the project is positioned is prone to flood conditions, and the current line lacks sufficient resistance. We were able to achieve a one-in-one-hundred years level of flood immunity by increasing the rail level and adding culverts. The process required extensive modelling and hydraulic analysis, with the raised rail line impacting more than 30 properties. We consulted landowners early in the design phase to ensure that the model was accurate and reflected observations of historical flooding. This proactive approach helped to get landowners on board with the design proposals and mitigate the costs of the necessary flood impact mitigation measures.
Throughout construction, an Aboriginal heritage artefact program enabled WSP to salvage any artefacts that were found, and reduced the potential for any delays during construction.
Images courtesy of ARTC