QR National has awarded a A$56m ($57.2m) contract to Leighton Contractors for the first stage of the A$900m ($960m) Wiggins Island rail project (WIRP) in Australia.
Leighton will carry out civil works for the track duplication between Rocklands and Stanwell near Rockhampton, Queensland, one of six major work sites for the first stage of the WIRP.
Work on the project include 18km of track duplication on the Blackwater Rail System, earthworks and large diameter drainage infrastructure upgrades, as well as construction of three rail bridges at Burnett Highway, Four Mile Creek and Neerkol Creek.
Duplication of the track will allow 1.7km of coal trains to operate along the Blackwater System to the balloon loop near Gladstone for unloading, as well as more frequent services along the track.
The deal follows the company's A$76m ($77m) contract with Abigroup to undertake the civil works for a 13km rail loop to the new Wiggins Island coal export terminal (WICET) at the Port of Gladstone in Queensland.
QR National network executive vice president Michael Carter said that the awarding of the two contracts was a significant step forward for the construction of the rail project, which remains on target to commence railings in mid-2014.
"The signing of this new contract will enable Leighton to begin construction this month," Carter said.
The WIRP is expected to support an initial 27 million tonnes per annum of coal to Wiggins Island Coal Terminal, as well as increase its coal capacity by more than 70Mtpa to around 300Mtpa by 2015.
Work on the 13km rail loop is scheduled to start shortly, which will act as the new coal export supply chain for existing and future Queensland coal producers in the Surat and Bowen basins.
The first railings on WIRP are scheduled to be laid in mid-2014 and aligned with stage 1 port capacity at WICET, while the remaining works are expected to be completed by March 2015.
Image: Leighton will provide civil works for the track duplication between Rocklands and Stanwell under the WIRP in Australia. Photo: courtesy of Leighton Contractors.