INLAND Rail has awarded a contract worth $403.5 million for design and construction of enhancement works for two sections of the rail route.

Martinus Rail received the contract for work on 183 kilometres of track between Albury and Illabo and 170 kilometres of track between Stockinbingal and Parkes.

The federal government and Inland Rail said the contract was a milestone toward a goal to complete the Inland Rail between Beveridge and Parkes by 2027.

Inland Rail said the enhancement works would ultimately enable double-stacked freight trains to run between Albury and Parkes.

Bridge upgrades and track lowering works would create height and width clearances required for the double-stacked freight trains.

Martinus Rail has also been tasked with enhancing station precincts in Albury, Wagga Wagga and Forbes. The company would also build an additional crossing loop at Daroobalgie.  

Infrastructure, transport, regional development and local government minister Catherine King said the Australian government is committed to getting the delivery of the Inland Rail back on track.

“With this contract we are living up to our commitment to prioritise the completion of Inland Rail south of Parkes by 2027,” Ms King said.

Finance minister Katy Gallagher said progressing the Inland Rail stages south of Parkes would unlock the benefits of the overall project sooner.

“Inland Rail is supporting Australian companies, with more than $2.7 billion in contracts already awarded to over 400 suppliers and businesses across the country,” she said.

Initial works on the Stockinbingal to Parkes section are expected to start before the end of 2023 and works on the Albury to Illabo section are scheduled to commence by mid 2024. Construction will only proceed once final approvals are obtained.

Inland Rail said enhancement works on the two sections follow on from the successful completion of the Parkes to Narromine section of Inland Rail, which was completed in 2020.

It expects the new enhancements to enable double stacked trains to travel from Beveridge to Narromine by 2027.

Melvyn Maylin, Inland Rail director of program delivery for Albury to Parkes, said Inland Rail was delighted to bring Martinus Rail on board.

“Although we are still working on securing our final environmental approvals, we are very much looking forward to starting work on S2P and bringing Inland Rail to life in these very important sections,” he said.

Martinus chief operating officer Ryan Baden congratulated the business on winning the contract.

“The Martinus team have created some fantastic design solutions which will leave long term benefits for these regional communities,” he said.

“This key infrastructure project will enable us to further invest in our people and their futures.

“Long term, it secures our vision of providing abundant opportunities for training and upskilling to address the skill-shortage across the industry and future-proof our business.

“As an Australian owned and operated business, we want to thank Inland Rail for entrusting us to undertake these works with the support from the local community. We look forward to celebrating many project milestones together over the next few years.”