Inland Rail investigations head underground

THE Australian Rail Track Corporation has headed underground in its pursuit of the best engineering solutions for Inland Rail.

Just like the landscape above ground presents challenges in building Inland Rail, ARTC will contend with a variety of geological conditions below the surface.

Inland Rail Public Private Partnership director Tony Lubofsky said ARTC had begun geotechnical investigations in the study corridor to provide data for companies preparing bids for the Public-Private Partnership section of Inland Rail from Gowrie near Toowoomba to Kagaru near Brisbane.

As part of the geotechnical work, about 500 boreholes will be drilled, with the deepest at Mount Kynoch. This hole will be 280 metres deep and will provide the technical data to inform the build of the 6.4km long tunnel through the Great Dividing Range.

"ARTC is seeking to engage with major Australian and multi-national builders and engineers to harness innovative design solutions to deliver the most technically challenging section of the 1700km Inland Rail project," Mr Lubofsky said.

"Private sector involvement in the design and build is critical.

"There are some engineering marvels to be built in this section. As we come through the Toowoomba Range, there are going to be tunnels, bridges and viaducts," he said.

"One of these bridges will be higher than the Story Bridge in Brisbane.

"The tunnel will have an 11-metre diameter to provide clearance for double-stacked containers and will be a one-in-65 grade, meaning trains will be able to ascend and descend without requiring assistance. There is leadership in the private sector that ARTC will need to harness to deliver this exciting stage."

"To provide the information for the challenges ahead ARTC has awarded a contract of around $23 million to Golder Associates Pty Ltd to perform comprehensive geotechnical studies between Gowrie and Kagaru. This data will enable these companies to take their bids forward with certainty."

It is expected the drilling will take about five months.