Australia has finished a $400m concrete re-sleepering on rail lines between Melbourne and Brisbane, which is expected to allow for uninterrupted rail services during the extreme summer temperatures.

Work involved replacing 2.2 million wooden sleepers with concrete sleepers on the North South corridor and the $100m concrete re-sleepering work between the NSW border and Acacia Ridge Queensland, as well as new passing lanes and loops and signal upgrades.

Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC) CEO David Marchant said that as the mercury pushes toward 40°C, ARTC would, in the past, often have to implement temporary speed restrictions on numerous sections of the North South corridor, particularly in New South Wales.

“This was due to the potential for high summer temperatures to cause the steel rail to buckle. In the past ARTC could issue temporary speed restrictions on 50 days every summer, which significantly increased transit time between the major capitals,” Marchant said.

“By introducing concrete sleepers, ARTC has significantly increased the track infrastructure strength. The sheer weight of the concrete sleepers holds the track firmly in place and helps prevent heat-related buckling,” he said.