CONSTRUCTION on the Inland Rail section between the New South Wales towns of Stockinbingal and Parkes has officially begun.

The Australian government is taking a staged approach to delivering the rail project, with construction between Beveridge in Victoria and Parkes in New South Wales prioritised for completion by 2027.

The Stockinbingal to Parkes works will include bridge upgrades and track lowering in Forbes to create the required height and width clearances for double stacked trains. An additional crossing loop to be constructed at Daroobalgie.

The delivery of these sections will enable Inland Rail to connect to existing rail networks between Melbourne, Sydney, Perth, Adelaide and the Illawarra via Parkes and Narromine.

Martinus Rail has been awarded a $403.5 million contract to design and construct enhancement works on the Stockinbingal to Parkes and Albury to Illabo sections of Inland Rail.

Inland Rail has already completed the Parkes to Narromine section in New South Wales with major construction works also underway on the Beveridge to Albury section in Victoria.

Rebecca Pickering, acting chief executive Inland Rail said the start of works on the section is a key milestone for the project.

“We will continue to engage strongly with local suppliers and businesses across regional New South Wales and are very excited about the benefits that we can bring to local economies as we deliver these works,” she said.