THE Australian Rail Track Corporation is modifying the planned bridge of the Walgett branch Line in Narrabri to allow double-stacked container trains to transition on and off the Inland Rail mainline.

ARTC said this would “boost freight opportunities in northern New South Wales”.

The corporation said it had consulted with Narrabri Shire Council and “key stakeholders” before taking the decision to increase the height of the planned bridge from 5.8 metres to 7.1 metres.

ARTC chief executive officer Mark Campbell said raising the bridge would help industries to realise benefits from the long-term supply chain activities taking place at Narrabri.

“We have committed over $8 million to raise the height of the proposed Inland Rail bridge to 7.1 metres to allow double-stacked trains to pass through the Walgett Branch Line, which will help support the vision of the Narrabri Council for a world class Inland Port at Narrabri,” Mr Campbell said.

“This is going to future proof the investments which have been made in Narrabri by providing long-term productivity gains as well as better connection to existing rail networks and the Port of Newcastle.”

Federal member for Parkes Mark Coulton said the opportunities for business growth, employment and economic development are “endless” because of Inland Rail.

“The modification of the bridge over the Walgett Branch Line in Narrabri will not only allow double-stacked trains to transition easily from Inland Rail; but will continue to enhance possible future connections”, Mr Coulton said.

The bridge will be upgraded as part of the Narromine to Narrabri Inland Rail project, with construction slated to begin in late 2022.