Track laying begins on Southern Suburbs Railway
A unique track-building machine has begun the job of laying more than 65km of double track railway between Perth and Mandurah.
Planning and Infrastructure Minister Alannah MacTiernan today officially launched the new track construction (NTC) machine at the RailLink Joint Venture site at Hillman, just east of Rockingham.
"The rig is capable of laying 10 sleepers per minute and one kilometre of track a day - kicking off at the Hillman depot," Ms MacTiernan said.
"The entire operation can be carried out within the median of the Kwinana Freeway - or on any part of the line - with minimal need for road support vehicles and hence minimal disruption to motorists."
The Minister said this was an exciting phase of the Southern Suburbs Railway project, and residents of Perth's southern corridor would follow the progress of the tracklayer.
Tonnes of rail, sleepers, clips, fixtures and fittings have been stockpiled at Hillman to feed the tracklayer over the coming months.
More than 200,000 concrete sleepers are being supplied by Welshpool firm CSR Humes.
Twenty-seven-metre lengths of rail are welded into 190m 'strings' for laying out on the sleepers through the NTC machine.
At the end of each week, the tracklayer will move across to lay the parallel section of railway.
The track through the city tunnel - linking up with the Joondalup line - is part of a different contract and will be undertaken through the second half of this year and into next year.
Managing director of RailLink Joint Venture partner, John Holland Rail Pty Ltd, David Tasker said the tracklaying was the culmination of months of preparatory work.
"This includes major earthworks and bridges, as well as the limestone formation, manufacture of concrete sleepers and crushing ballast," Mr Tasker said.
Tracklaying is followed by the installation of overhead power lines, signalling and, finally, the testing of the complete system.
Ms MacTiernan said the Southern Suburbs Railway was the final and biggest part of the State Government's New MetroRail project.