The Government of Australia and the state of New South Wales (NSW) have granted approvals for the construction of the Parkes to Narromine section of the Inland Rail project.

Planning approval was granted after completing environmental assessment and consultation carried out with landowners, councils and other communities in NSW over a period of two years.

The 104km section of track between Parkes and Narromine will feature steel rail built at Whyalla in South Australia. It has already received 6,534t of steel rail tracks.

Concrete solution provider Rocla will build 200,000 concrete sleepers for the section at its facility in Mittagong, NSW, and has already started delivering the first of them.

In addition, Calvani Crushing and Ausrock Quarries have secured contracts valued at A$7m ($5m) to supply materials for the Parkes-Narromine route.

“We have had keen interest from the community so far with over 200 EOI registrations from local businesses.”

Once built, the route will use the majority of the rail corridor currently operated by Australian Rail Track (ARTC) under its interstate rail freight network and a newly developed 5.3km long railway line to the Broken Hill line to the west of Parkes.

Construction on the Parkes-Narromine route will comprise a number of works such as track formation, revamping of existing track and culverts, as well as upgrading three new crossing loops at Goonumbla, Peak Hill, and Timjelly.

Inland Rail CEO Richard Wankmuller said: “All the wheels are in-motion for the construction phase to move forward. Just last month, industry briefings calling for expressions of interest (EOI) for work required on the route were held in Parkes, Narromine and Dubbo.

“We have had keen interest from the community so far with over 200 EOI registrations from local businesses.”

Inland Rail is a freight rail infrastructure project that expects to connect regional Australia to domestic and international markets.

First tracks for the Inland Rail project are expected to be laid later this year, with operations planned to begin by 2024-2025.