Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC) has announced the implementation of various preventive measures on the North East Rail Line and Hunter Valley rail networks.

The measures are expected to aid in the continued operations of the services in a safe and reliable manner amid the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic.

The company added that the state and federal governments announced that the rail lines are an essential service.

ARTC projects general manager Victoria Ed Walker stated that the company is balancing the continuation of the freight and passenger rail operations, as well as the health of the workers along with the North East Rail Line upgrade work.

Walker said: “The freight and transport industry is an essential service – and the North East rail line is a vital transport corridor for interstate freight trains, passenger trains, steel for construction and manufacturing and for regional goods like grain.”

The Hunter Valley rail network is an essential part of the supply chain and aids the economies of Hunter, New South Wales (NSW) and Australia.

The rail network operates passenger services that comprise around half of the total trains, as well as regional freight and interstate goods trains.

ARTC also carries out the transport of coal, grain and other products.

ARTC group executive Hunter Valley Wayne Johnson said: “It is critical that we continue to meet the need of delivering goods, products and people – but we are acutely aware of balancing the demands of running an extensive rail network, with the health and welfare of our people and the communities in which we operate.”

To ensure that the rail network is operational, the company has undertaken critical maintenance work and reduced the previously scheduled maintenance shutdown of the Hunter Valley rail network.

Australia’s Queensland Government announced that the long-haul train and coach services will be reduced to minimise the spread of Covid-19.

The country has so far reported more than 4,000 confirmed cases and 17 deaths.