A RAIL network connecting New South Wales, South Australia and Western Australia is expected to return to full capacity next week (commencing 23 January).

The Australian Rail Track Corporation announced on Friday (20 January) it is reopening the Parkes to Broken Hill section of the east-west link.

It has been closed since October last year, when record-breaking flooding hit central west New South Wales and damaged the line.

ARTC said 35 sites required substantial repair, as ballast and formation had been washed away in the floods.

ARTC said more than 60 workers collectively worked more than 22,000 hours across the sites to repair the damage.

Repair works included track repair, restoring 10,500 tonnes of ballast, tamping, and restoring impacted level crossings and signals.

“We are pleased to announce a reopening date for the Broken Hill line, and we recognise that the line is a vital link in getting goods across the country,” ARTC group executive interstate network Simon Ormsby said.

“We would like to thank our customers for their patience during the network shutdown, we appreciate the challenges the shutdown caused with services diverted through Melbourne,” he said.

“We would also like to extend our thanks to our contractor partners for helping us get these essential works done in extremely challenging conditions.”

ARTC said temporary speed restrictions will be in place at the repaired sites upon reopening and will be gradually removed.