MAINTENANCE and enhancement work will bring more than 1000 employees and many millions of dollars into Hunter Valley communities this week.
Australian Rail Track Corporation group executive for the Hunter Valley Network Jonathan Vandervoort said the three-day program involved 124 different jobs and an investment in excess of $20 million.
"Most of that is spent in the local communities, providing a substantial local economic benefit," he explained.
"These major maintenance programs require the deployment of an additional workforce of over a 1000 contractors, right through the Hunter Valley.
"For example, in the recent February shutdown we delivered more than $4 million worth of work in the Gunnedah region alone - with much of the material and labour locally-sourced, delivering benefits to businesses like accommodation providers, service stations, cafes, hardware stores and supermarkets."
The work will start at 6.30am on Tuesday, April 9, and will be carried out from the port at Kooragang and along the rail corridor to Narrabri, as well as the Ulan line west from Muswellbrook.
To enable the jobs to be carried out safely, a scheduled shutdown is required and is expected to be completed on the section from the port to Muswellbrook and Ulan line by 8.30pm on Thursday, April 11, while completion on the section from Muswellbrook to Narrabri is expected by 6.30am on Friday, April 12.
"Works will include ballast cleaning, re-railing, track re-conditioning and turnout renewals," Mr Vandervoort said.
"There'll also be enhancements to signalling systems along a section between Wilpinjong and Kerrabee on the Ulan line, as well as Watermark and Turrawan on the North West line, providing increased availability of the network on those lines.
"Structural work at Glennies Creek Bridge and re-railing of the main line over the bridge, which will contribute to network stability, are expected to be completed during the shutdown.
"We appreciate the patience and cooperation of commuters and our customers during this time.
"The shutdown provides us with the best opportunity to access the track safely for longer periods of time and we plan well ahead to get the major work done during that window.
"We ask people in communities close to the rail corridor to be cautious during the shutdown period and keep an eye out for increased vehicle movements in and out of work sites."
With the shutdown affecting Hunter Valley train services, alternative bus services will be provided.
Details and schedules can be found at the Transport for NSW website.
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