WHILE major construction work has commenced on the Inland Rail section from Narrabri to North Star (N2NS) in the north west signalling the start of hundreds of opportunities for local workers, a detailed feasibility study to explore opportunities to deliver improved mobile telecommunications along that rail corridor was also announced this week.
Mr Coulton was in Gurley to meet with machine operators, engineers and other construction workers and said Inland Rail provided the platform for a new wave of prosperity in the region.
"It's an exciting day to see the major construction begin on this N2NS section of Inland Rail, particularly for the local workers involved in the project," Mr Coulton said.
"The Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC) and its construction partners have been busy engaging the local community over the past few months to ensure the local workforce is in a position to benefit from the construction of Inland Rail."
The construction will directly employ 500 people, with many others to follow for sub-contractors and businesses in the area.
"These works will bring economic stimulus to the regional communities of Narrabri, Bellata, Moree and North Star," he said.
The (ARTC will construct the $700 million phase one N2NS section, a length of track totalling 171 kilometres. Delivered on site so far are 341,225 concrete sleepers - each weighing 231kgs, a total of 78,800 tonnes, 116,396 concrete sleepers from Mittagong and 224,939 from Wagga Wagga. Also, 2474 lengths, 165-metres long of steel from Whyalla of close to 25,775t of rail.
Another project long championed by Mr Coulton was the ARTC announcement to undertake a detailed feasibility study to explore opportunities to deliver improved mobile telecommunications along the Inland Rail corridor.
Mr Coulton said the detailed feasibility study would confirm the site-specific technical approach, schedule and cost to improve mobile coverage in a corridor 10km to15km on either side of the N2NS section of the rail project.
"ARTC is strengthening existing mobile telecommunications infrastructure, building on advice from the Telecommunications Working Group, community feedback, and to meet their operational requirements," Mr Coulton said.
"Improved telecommunications on the Inland Rail alignment is essential to the operational needs of the N2NS project and will leave a positive legacy."