mobile menu

Search form

Country Regional Network

Overview

The Country Regional Network (CRN) is owned by Transport for NSW and is operated and maintained by our rail infrastructure manager, John Holland Rail (JHR), under a 10-year contract that commenced in January 2012.

The CRN links broad areas of regional NSW to interstate and metropolitan rail systems and in addition supports, customers transporting coal, grain, cotton, minerals and containerised freight to domestic and export markets. 

The network covers 2,386 route kilometres of operational passenger and freight rail lines and 3,139 route kilometres of non-operational lines. It comprises 27,000 hectares of land and infrastructure including:

  • 1,312 level crossings (300 active)
  • 1,200 property assets (including 356 heritage)
  • 600 rail under-bridges and 384 road over-bridges
  • About 996 km of branch line track used predominantly for haulage of grain, with lower mass and speed limits than other parts of the network.

The CRN’s key market segments can be broadly split into passenger, grain and freight (including general freight), minerals and coal. Its major customers are above rail freight and passenger operators and their customers include farmers, miners and passengers.

Our primary role is to ensure management of the CRN assets provide a safe, reliable and sustainable rail network and supporting operational services to meet customer needs. This includes ensuring maintenance works and services provide value for money to Government. 
 

Maintenance and upgrades

The NSW Government has invested more than $1 billion in the operation and maintenance of the Country Regional Network from 2011 to 2016. This includes $274 million for maintenance and upgrade on grain lines to attract more bulk freight onto rail and ease pressure on regional roads. 

Work on the State’s grain lines has included:

  • Replacing over 501,000 old timber sleepers with modern long life steel sleepers
  • Resurfacing over 1,994 km of track
  • Constructing 65 new low maintenance bridges and culverts
  • Upgrading 53 level crossings
  • Laying over 262,000 tonnes of ballast
  • Completing the re-railing of 57 kilometres of track from Armatree to Coonamble with heavy rail to allow main line locomotives to operate from grain terminals to the port
  • Rolling out a new train control system across the network, improving operational efficiency
  • Completing a 700 metre passing loop extension at Trangie, creating over 1300 metres of dual track for more efficient train movements on the rail line between Narromine Junction to Nevertire and beyond
  • Re-railing of around 5.3 kilometres of track between Auscott and the Namoi Cotton facility on the Nevertire to Warren line with heavy rail, level crossings were upgraded, and track was aligned and resurfaced to allow mainline locomotives to run from terminal to port
  • Extending grain sidings at Ardlethan and Nevertire allowing faster loading of grain onto trains to support industry investments at these locations.
     

Priority projects

Temora to Griffith Line - Resleepering Works

Cost: $6.8 million / Due for completion: March 2017
This project has improved the reliability and durability of this rail corridor and supports the continued provision of on-time train paths for our customers. It involved:

  • Replacing 48,000 life-expired timber sleepers with modern, long-life steel sleepers
  • Providing additional 12,000 tonnes of ballast and resurfacing 50 kilometres of track

This is in addition to a $26 million project completed last year on the Temora to Griffith line that saw over 1,600 mechanical joints welded up to provide continuous rail in this corridor.

This project is part of a program of works and delivery of infrastructure and operations support services on the Country Regional Network totalling $220 million this year. 

Dubbo to Coonamble Line - Resleepering Works

Cost: $20.3 million / Due for completion: June 2017
This project will improve operational and network reliability and allowing for the continued provision of on-time train paths to customers. It involves:

  • Replacing 66,000 life-expired timber sleepers with modern, long-life steel sleepers
  • Providing additional 17,000 tonnes of ballast and resurfacing 95 kilometres of track.
     

West Tamworth to Armidale Line - Resleepering Works

Cost: $18.1 million / Completed: November 2016
This project will improve operational and network reliability and allow for the continued provision of on-time train paths to customers. It involves:

  • Replacing 60,000 life-expired timber sleepers with modern, long-life steel sleepers
  • Providing additional 15,000 tonnes of ballast and resurfacing 110 kilometres of track.
     

CRN Bridge Improvements

Cost: $11.3 million / Due for completion: June 2017
This work includes:

  • Replacing three life-expired timber road bridges with new concrete structures at Coffs Harbour, Urunga and Young. The work will remove load restrictions on the bridges to allow heavier freight vehicles to access more of the road network 
  • Replacing five life-expired timber rail bridges on the Nyngan to Cobar Line and one on the Bogan Gate to Tottenham line. The work will remove temporary speed restrictions on the Nyngan to Cobar line, and improve travel times and availability on the network.