INLAND Rail has completed major construction on the Narrabri to North Star Phase 1 section of track.

Completion of this part of the route allowed the upgraded track between Camurra and North Star to be returned to Australian Rail Track Corporation as the track operator.

The return to ARTC means trains can now service grain silos at Milguy, Croppa Creek and North Star after two and a half years.

The Narrabri to North Star Phase 1 project included upgrading 176 kilometres of track along the existing rail corridor.

Inland Rail upgraded seven bridges and enhanced safety at 57 level crossings, with 10 passive level crossings upgraded to active with bells, lights and boom gates.

Inland Rail highlighted that the project involved more than 290,000 Australian-made concrete sleepers, and 4700 precast culverts.

The project team also made changes to boost the flood resilience of the rail line, which they said proved effective during severe weather in the region late last year.

Local elected officials, stakeholders and Inland Rail and principal contractor Trans4m staff came together at an event in Milguy to celebrate the milestone and recognise the hard work of all involved.

Peter Borrelli, Inland Rail project director Narrabri to North Star, said completing major construction on Narrabri to North Star Phase 1 was a tremendous achievement.

“Together with our principal contractor Trans4m Rail, our teams have achieved a fantastic result despite facing challenges during construction of the pandemic, two floods, and mouse plagues in the region,” he said.

“The Narrabri to North Star Phase 1 project brought with it an economic boost to communities in northwest New South Wales, and we are looking forward to seeing more regional benefits in coming years with construction between Parkes and Albury prioritised for completion by 2027.

“Inland Rail will enhance our national freight and supply chain capabilities, connecting existing freight routes through rail, roads, and ports, supporting Australia’s growth.”

Narrabri to North Star Phase 1 is the second section of Inland Rail to complete major construction, following the commissioning of the Parkes to Narromine line in September 2020.

Phase 2 of the project, which involves further upgrades and building two kilometres of new track north of Moree, is currently in approvals with Inland Rail now preparing a Preferred Infrastructure Report and a response to submissions for the NSW Department of Planning and Environment.