Earth works have begun on one of Australia’s largest rail projects, a $500 million upgrade of the Jilalan Rail Yard, which will expand the export capacity of the Australian coal industry to meet booming global demand.
Bulldozers recently moved onto QR Limited’s site to prepare for a project which will provide a vital boost to the coal supply chain in Queensland’s Bowen Basin by lifting the capacity of the maintenance and service yard by more than 40%.
The milestone coincided with a meeting of the project team at the site near Sarina in central Queensland where work will continue until the end of 2009.
The project is being delivered by the Coal Stream Alliance of QR, Macmahon Holdings, MVM Rail, Connell Wagner, Hatch and Parsons Brinkerhoff.
QR Chief Executive Officer Lance Hockridge said bulldozers were preparing to move more than 1 million cubic metres of earth — about the size of the Melbourne Cricket Ground.
“More than 300 people will be working on the project, the scale of which exceeds anything previously seen in the area,” Hockridge said.
“The expansion of the yard includes two new bypass tracks with provision for a third, two provisioning tracks, a wagon maintenance facility and modifications to the existing yard and tracks.
“The upgrade will increase the capacity of the yard from 92 million tonnes per annum (mtpa) to 130 mtpa.
“This is about meeting the future needs of our customers as the massive growth in export demand for coal continues.”
The Jilalan Rail Yard was built in the 1970s prior to the opening of the Dalrymple Bay Coal Terminal in 1983.