Workers on big rail project in the Riverina Murray region – the $60 million Junee to Griffith track upgrade – have pitched in to help a little rail project, the Yanco Miniature Railway.

Member for Cootamundra Steph Cooke said the John Holland crew, working on behalf of Transport for NSW under the NSW Government’s Fixing Country Rail program, donated time and materials to help upgrade the smaller-scale track.

“The Yanco Miniature Railway has been closed since February 2020 because of COVID-19, so workers on the Junee to Griffith project used the closure time to upgrade the model train exhibit,” Ms Cooke said.

In late November, the project team carried out a working bee at the miniature railway, donating timber sleepers and surplus track from the Junee to Griffith project.

These materials were used to upgrade the miniature railway’s existing 800-metre track and begin work on an extension.

“The project team welcomed the opportunity to support a local community group impacted by COVID-19, by recycling the existing rail lengths that had been replaced between Junee and Griffith and reducing waste from the upgrade,” Ms Cooke said.

Project Manager Gareth Beynon from John Holland visited the miniature railway and was amazed by its replica miniature-scale model train ride.

Yanco Miniature Railway Club President Terry Ward said workers put new gravel on the tracks, mowed grass, removed overgrown vegetation and began excavation work for a future tunnel.

“I cannot thank the crew enough. We’re hoping to reopen early next year and are excited to welcome back families to our upgraded miniature railway,” Mr Ward said.

The 174 kilometre Junee to Griffith upgrade project is expected to be completed early next year, providing a better freight link to port as well as domestic markets.

Capacity on the rail line will be increased to support heavier trains, and train speeds may increase for some train configurations between Junee and Griffith; improving network efficiency, ensuring shorter delivery times and reducing transport costs.

Fixing Country Rail is a $400 million NSW Government program providing targeted infrastructure funding from Restart NSW for regional freight projects.

For more information on the Fixing Country Rail program

visit: https://www.transport.nsw.gov.au/projects/programs/fixing-country-rail 

***images available to download here: https://spaces.hightail.com/space/joD9w6SgIC