Construction set to start on Australia's Inland Rail

The first sod is set to be turned on Thursday for the $9.3 billion Inland Rail project in central western New South Wales.

The Parkes to Narromine section, which is expected to create about 200 jobs, is one of 13 projects forming the 1700km Inland Rail line linking Melbourne and Brisbane.

Inland Rail is the largest freight rail infrastructure project in Australia, with the aim of operating in 2024/25.

Most of the work on the 104km section will be a full rebuild of the tracks, rail formation and supporting structures in the existing rail corridor.

Construction will start in Parkes and progress north towards Narwonah, about 8km south of Narromine, and is expected to be finished by mid-2020.

The longest part of the Australian Rail Track Corporation project will be the 307km Narromine to Narrabri stretch, with the shortest project extending from Gowrie to Helidon in southern Queensland (26km).

The federal government originally intended the project to start by 2016.

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