Trainline upgrades to disrupt Southern Highlands services

Significant rail upgrades for Wollondilly lines will see services cancelled this weekend.

Rerailing works at Menangle Park, Menangle, Douglas Park, Picton, Bargo, Maldon, Yerrinbool, Mittagong and Burradoo will be under way from 10pm tonight (Friday, December 1) until 2am Monday, December 4.

The works are part of the Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC) investment into infrastructure improvements on the Southern Highlands railway line between Macarthur and Goulburn.

The $40 million upgrades, completely funded by the ARTC, are designed to improve reliability of train services between the two locations.

Interstate Network group executive Peter Winder said the work was being fast-tracked to address customer concerns about reliability.

“We are very conscious of the concerns of our customers operating through the Southern Highlands and are working closely with them to improve performance – and in particular reliability,” Mr Winder said.

“Pleasingly, we have seen positive results due to the re-railing and other work ARTC has already delivered between August and November, but there is more to do.”

ARTC is replacing lengths of older rail with new Australian sourced steel rail. The older rail installed over 20 years ago can have defects arise which are best managed by replacing the rail itself.

Regular physical and technological inspections are done to ensure the safety of the rail network, and the issue can also contribute to temporary speed restrictions which impacts train punctuality.

The project is planned through to 2020 employing predominantly locals to deliver the works.

“Trains operate on a set timetable, and particularly during busy periods like the morning peak, if there are delays it can flow on across all of our customers,” Mr Winder said.

“While there are a number of factors that can impact reliability, from train faults to signalling issues, the last thing we want are our customers delayed as it impacts the entire network. To grow the number of trains operating, we want to see services running on time as much as our customers do.

“That’s why we have brought this massive $40 million infrastructure investment forward to build further reliability into this part of our rail network.”

In order to complete the local works safely and efficiently, they will take place during a track closedown which will see both day, and to a lesser extent night works, involved, with machinery and equipment in use at various locations during this period.

“We apologise for any inconvenience the work causes,” Mr Winder said.