Blue Mountains Line back on track after crucial repairs completed

20 January 2023

Passenger services on the main western rail line in the Blue Mountains will resume tomorrow following last month’s freight train derailment.

Deputy Premier and Minister for Regional NSW Paul Toole said the 3.49am service from Lithgow to Sydney will be the first passenger train through now that repairs to the track between Lawson and Linden have been completed.

“The NSW Liberal and Nationals Government prioritised getting this line reopened before the end of school holidays, because we know how important it is for commuters and families to have reliable  train services  through the Blue Mountains,” Mr Toole said.

“Crews have put in a mammoth effort to get this line reopened, replacing 18.1 kilometres of damaged track, installing more than 15,000 new sleepers and 24,000 tonnes of ballast and replacing or repairing 92 pieces of signalling equipment.

“I thank local residents for their patience; their cooperation has allowed us to get the job done as quickly as possible.”

Minister for Regional Transport and Roads Sam Farraway said Transport for NSW and Sydney Trains had to rebuild the entire damaged track in extremely difficult terrain, which required detailed planning and specialist engineering expertise.

“The Blue Mountains rail line is a critical freight corridor linking east with west,” Mr Farraway said.

“We worked closely with the freight industry during the repair period, opening the adjacent track to allow for diesel freight train movements across this critical supply chain.

“It’s great news that following the completion of repairs, full freight access will resume on the Blue Mountains line, as well as intercity and regional passenger train services.

“I’d like to thank our rail freight industry, passengers and the local community for their patience and understanding while the repairs were undertaken. I would also like to acknowledge the professionalism of the engineering and trackwork teams who completed the significant repairs to the rail corridor.”

THE MASSIVE RECOVERY TASK BY THE NUMBERS:

  • Damage to infrastructure spanned about 10km, comprising broken rail and damaged and broken concrete sleepers, signaling equipment and electrical assets
  • Removed and disposed of 15,000 concrete sleepers (which will be recycled)
  • Removed and disposed of more than 18km of broken and damaged rail (which will be recycled)
  • Removed 24,000 tonnes of spoil and ballast
  • Removed 92 pieces of critical signaling equipment
  • Installed 26,500 tonnes of new ballast to build and stabilise the ground the track, sleepers and rail
  • Replaced more than 15,000 concrete sleepers, each weighing approximately 300kg, with the terrain requiring manual handling to position and align each sleeper
  • Installed and clipped into position more than 18.1km of new rail
  • Welded and adjusted more than 210 sections of rail to ensure alignment
  • Installed 92 pieces of new critical signaling equipment
  • Installed 1.1km of electrical leads
  • Tested 16km of signaling infrastructure
  • Inspected and adjusted more than 17km of overhead wiring
  • More than 140 frontline staff worked each shift, with a total of 420 staff working within each 24-hour window
  • More than 70 pieces of specialised machinery were used during each shift.

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