TasRail Menu

Archived Projects

TasRail inherited a business characterised by many years of underinvestment. Under previous owners the business had been run down to the point where it was no longer able to provide reliable and competitive freight services. As a consequence, customers had lost confidence in rail and considerable rail freight volumes had shifted to road transport.

New Locomotive Fleet

Project Cost: $68.5 million
Timeframe: December 2011 – late 2015
Funded by: Tasmanian Government (Rail Recovery Plan) Partners: Downer EDI and Progress Rail

Project Overview: The replacement of TasRail's ageing and mostly life-expired locomotive fleet with brand
new PR22 Locomotives built to TasRail specification and design. The new locomotives arrived in Tasmania over a period of eight months between November 2013 and July 2014. Each of the locomotives was subject to infield testing prior to being introduced into revenue services across the network as part of the commissioning process. Final acceptance of the locomotive fleet is expected to occur late in 2015. The introduction of the new locomotive fleet is a 'game changer' for TasRail.

Project benefits:

  • Single locomotive design, catering for 16 and 18 tonne axle loads
  • Individual trailing tonnes increase from an average of 450 tonnes to 750 tonnes per locomotive
  • Individual trains to consist of two locomotives, compared to four of the old fleet
  • Average length of train up to 750 metres
  • Projected availability of 92 per cent over 365 days
  • Substantially reduce maintenance costs
  • Superior driver safety and comfort
  • Readily available parts, service and warranty support

New Wagon Fleet

 image

Project Cost: $28 million
Timeframe: October 2012 – May 2014
Funded by: Tasmanian Government (Rail Recovery Plan) Partners: China Northern Railway (CNR)

Project Overview: The urgent replacement of TasRail's unreliable, inefficient and life-expired wagon fleet with a new fleet of wagons constructed to TasRail specification. The new fleet comprises 120 intermodal wagons; 54 ore wagons; 18 coal wagons; and 17 cement wagons. New prototype wagons (two of each class) landed in Tasmania during September 2013 for a successful 28-day in-service trial, ahead of mass production commencing. The entire new wagon fleet was operating across revenue services by April 2014.

Project benefits:

  • Fit for purpose wagons
  • Reduce operating costs
  • Improve reliability
  • Increase capacity
  • Improve operational efficiencies • Improve safety features
  • Lower operating costs
  • Reduce maintenance costs
  • Reduce spillage
  • Better ride performance
  • Decrease the risk of derailment

Mobile Equipment

 image

Project Cost: $5 million
Timeframe: September 2011 – March 2014
Funding Source: Tasmanian Government (Rail Recovery Plan)
Partners: Harsco

Project Overview: The Tamper Machine and Ballast Regulator are critical equipment required for the maintenance and safe operation of the rail network. The Tamper Machine is used to apply the correct geometry to the track and the Ballast Regulator is used to shape and distribute track ballast which supports the sleepers. The equipment inherited by TasRail was life-expired and no longer able to meet safety and operational requirements. The new Tamper Machine replaces two inefficient machines. The Ballast Regulator was designed and built in Brisbane, Queensland. The new equipment arrived in Tasmania during November 2013, and following commissioning and training, entered into service during March 2014.

Project Objectives: Ensure a higher standard of track maintenance. Improve occupational health and safety outcomes, efficiencies and maintenance outcomes.

Advanced Network Train Control System

 image

Project Cost: Forecast $10.8 million
Timeframe: January 2010 – January 2015
Funding: Tasmanian Government (Rail Recovery Plan)
Works partner: Siemens and Tait Communications

Overview: TasRail's current Train Control System is non-automated and requires considerable human interaction and compliance with operating rules. It uses paper-based procedures and the authority to safely access the network is transmitted to trains, track workers and equipment operators via a dedicated, open channel radio system. In common with other users of "dark territory" safe working systems, TasRail continues to experience a relatively high number of safe working breaches due to human error. The new Advanced Network Train Control System provides visibility of on-track vehicles, providing additional protection through warning and alarms to the operators and Network Control. The project includes the installation of a new data communications system.

Project Objectives: Improve network capacity, safety and efficiency for track users. Reduce safe working irregularities and waiting times for asset management.

Concrete Sleeper Program

Project Cost: $46 million
Timeframe: November 2012 – June 2014
Funding: Australian Government (Nation Building)
Works partner: Downer EDI

Overview: The Concrete Sleeper Project incorporated the ballast cleaning of approximately 70 kilometres of track, the supply and installation of nearly 100,000 concrete sleepers and the installation of 64,000 metres of rail across priority areas of the network between Brighton and Burnie (equal to replacement of approximately 20 per cent of sleepers and 10 per cent of rail). The concrete sleepers were installed in track sections incorporating 200 metre radius curves or less.

Project Objectives: Improve track safety, stability and reliability. Reduce track buckles, derailment risk, track speed restrictions, transit times and track maintenance costs.

4 North West Coast Bridge Renewal

Project Cost: $24 million
Timeframe: October 2011 – June 2014
Funding source: Australian Government (Nation Building)
Works partners: MB&A Project Consulting, VEC Civil Engineering

Overview: TasRail had identified an urgent need to either upgrade or replace four life-expired, major railway bridges on the North West Coast. These bridges are all located on a strategically vital section of the rail network. The Blythe and Forth rail bridges were replaced on the existing alignment. The Leven was rebuilt on a new alignment upstream of the existing alignment. The Don superstructure was completely replaced in a 38 hour closure of the network. The 4 North West Coast Bridge Renewal Project was nominated for a 2014 Tasmanian Engineering Excellence Award.

Project Objectives: Improve rail transit times, operational safety and reliability, long-term sustainability of infrastructure. Reduce speed restrictions and maintenance costs.

Brighton Transport Hub

Project Cost: $80 million (Funded prior to TasRail)
Timeframe: 2007 – 2013
Funding source: Tasmanian and Australian Governments
Works partners: Former Department of Infrastructure, Energy and Resources (DIER); John Holland; Hazell Brothers; Toll

Project Overview: The Brighton Transport Hub represents the single, biggest change to the freight transport sector for many years. The project was initiated by the Tasmanian Government in 2007 and through DIER, the intermodal transport hub was constructed. Following the establishment of TasRail in December 2009, TasRail worked with DIER to identify, understand and assess the potential implications and opportunities of the Hub. This included the business case to support TasRail taking on the role of Hub Operator and ultimate Manager of the facility, with responsibility for both the Hardstand and Warehouse Zones. In December 2012, TasRail announced that it had signed national transport company Toll, as its anchor tenant at the Hub. Toll subsequently invested $20 million in new facilities at the Hub, paving the way for the relocation of rail operations from Macquarie Point in Hobart to the Brighton Transport Hub in June 2014.

Project Objectives:
• Set a new standard for intermodal freight terminals
• Enable TasRail to play a leading role in the provision of freight logistics for both road and rail, and road and road
• Provide a focal point for the consolidation and deconsolidation of freight
• Reduce transit times between Hobart and Northern ports

Hobart to Western Junction Track Upgrade

Project Cost: $20.3 million
Timeframe: May 2010 – June 2013
Funding source: Australian Government (Nation Building)
Works partners: VEC, Digga, Gradco, Downer EDI, Queensland Rail, Abbi Group

Overview: Refurbishment of prioritised sections of the network from Hobart to Western Junction, including re-sleepering, rerailing, drainage, earthworks and level crossing upgrades.

Project Objectives:
• Reduce transit times for intermodal services on the Brighton to Burnie intermodal services
• Improve drainage to increase the operational life of track infrastructure
• Increase operational safety and reliability
• Improve track safety and stability
• Reduce the risk of derailment

Western Junction to Burnie Track Upgrade

Project Cost: $30.2 million
Timeframe: May 2010 – June 2013
Funding source: Australian Government (Nation Building)
Works partners: VEC, Digga, Gradco, Downer EDI, Queensland Rail, Abbi Group


Overview: Refurbishment of prioritised sections of the network from Western Junction to Burnie including resleepering, re-railing, drainage, bridge replacements,
earthworks and level crossing upgrades.

Project Objectives:
• Reduce transit times
• Removal of track speed restrictions
• Improve drainage to increase the operational life of track infrastructure
• Increase operational safety and reliability
• Improve track stability
• Reduce risk of derailment

Melba Line Upgrade

Project Cost: $15.7 million
Timeframe: May 2010 – June 2013
Funding source: Australian Government (Nation Building)
Works partners: VEC, Downer EDI, Digga,

Overview: Refurbishment of higher risk sections of the network between Burnie to Melba Flats, including laying of 28,918 new sleepers and 907 metres of new rail, re-ballasting and tamping works. Two bridges were replaced, seven level crossings were upgraded and some 675 rail joints welded.

Project Objectives:
• Remove a number of track speed restrictions to support expanded frequency of services for existing customers
• Improve operational safety
• Improve the reliability of this strategically important route that supports West Coast industries

Fingal Line Upgrade

Project Cost: $5.7 million
Timeframe: July 2011 – June 2013
Funding source: Australian Government (Nation Building)
Works partners: Downer EDI, VEC,

Overview: The refurbishment of 54 track kilometres from Conara to Fingal. Upgrade works included the installation of 26,257 new sleepers, re-ballasting, tamping and level crossing upgrades.

Project Objectives:
• Continuity of operations across the statewide Tasmanian Rail Network
• Increase in rail usage
• Reduce the number of track closures for maintenance and repair work
• Reduce the risk of derailment

Boyer Line Upgrade

Project Cost: $1.1 million
Timeframe: October 2011 – April 2012
Funded by: Australian Government (Nation Building)
Works partners: Downer EDI, VEC Engineering

Project Overview: The refurbishment of 13 track kilometres from Boyer to Brighton. Upgrade works included the installation of 1,900 new sleepers and the replacement of life-expired 60lb and 80lb rail with 2,157m of new rail; re-ballasting and tamping works; minor bridge upgrades, drainage and earthworks.

Project Objectives:
• Ensure the continuing commercial viability of the existing service
• Improve the interface with the Transport Hub at Brighton
• Increase operational safety and reliability