The state government says new projects on the Mount Isa Rail Line would bolster freight movement between the North West Mineral Province and Townsville.
Transport and Main Roads Minister Mark Bailey announced in parliament Wednesday three projects had been approved as part of a $50 million investment for the Mount Isa rail line including double-stacked trains, flood resilience and replacing aging sleepers.
Mr Bailey said Queensland Rail would look at enabling double-stacked trains to run from Mount Isa to Stuart and potentially to the Port of Townsville, with a business case finalised this year to work out the cost and demand for double stacking, where trains can carry two layers of freight.
"Today's announcement is part of the more than half-a-billion dollars already being invested in the north-west supply chain over the next five years, and $1 billion in new roads funding announced by our government since April," Mr Bailey said.
There will be a major investment in improving flood resilience on the line and replacement of ageing rail equipment like sleepers and ballast.
QR will start geotechnical and survey work this month, to pave the way for the installation of new bridges and the replacement of culverts with spans and new piers, work which will increase capacity on waterway openings and provide protection to embankments to better withstand flood events.
Mr Bailey visited Mount Isa earlier this month to announce $6 million in works already underway to bolster flood resilience between Cloncurry and Hughenden, plus that $20 million of the Palaszczuk Government's $80 million, four-year plan to encourage freight operators to use the rail line had been accessed.
Port of Townsville CEO Ranee Crosby said the investment would ensure the supply chain remains competitive.
"Townsville Port is Australia's largest exporter of zinc, copper, lead and fertiliser, with significant growth opportunities from the North West Minerals Province, one of the world's richest mineral-producing regions," Ms Crosby said.
"These investments into the Mount Isa to Townsville Rail Line, such as enabling double-stacking of containers on rail, will offer customers greater flexibility in transporting freight to the Port, improving efficiency and helping drive down supply chain costs."
QR CEO Nick Easy said the latest investments were further proof of the organisation's commitment to the Mount Isa line.
"The Mount Isa line is a critical connector for communities in North West Queensland and one of the state's key freight paths, and Queensland Rail is committed to ensuring it meets the needs of communities and freight operators," he said.
"These investments will help existing mining operators export their resources and encourage new investment in the state's north west.
"Queensland Rail prides itself as a major employer in the region, directly supporting more than 80 jobs on the Mount Isa line and the local communities in which they are based."
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