Innovative steel on the rails

Liberty Primary Steel and the Australian Rail Track Corporation have worked hand-in-hand to produce a unique rail shape for the federal government's $1 billion Inland Rail project.

Inland Rail CEO Richard Wankmuller said the new rail was designed by ARTC teams and the final shape was further refined in conjunction with Liberty, and was manufactured at the Whyalla Steelworks.

An initial 6000-tonne batch of the new steel rolled off the Whyalla production line in late May for the section of Inland Rail between Narrabri and North Star, and delivery to northern New South Wales began on June 17.

The $31 million contract to supply the steel rail required for the next section of the project was secured by Liberty Primary Steel, which already supplies widely for projects across ARTC's rail network.

"Whyalla is a big part of Australia's rail history and their steel underpins thousands of kilometres of ARTC's existing network around Australia," Mr Wankmuller said.

"We are preparing for the next stage of construction on Inland Rail on the Narrabri to North Star section pending all Federal and State Government project and associated approvals.

"This high-quality steel by Liberty will be used for reconstruction of the existing track, construction of a new section of rail line at Camurra and level crossing works, among other things."

Liberty General Manager Commercial, Carol-Anne Nelson, said the company was pleased to secure yet another significant Inland Rail contract, as well as being able to deliver such an innovative new product.

"As we seek to transform our business, it's vital we develop and grow our product range to cater for an evolving market, working closely with our customers to create customised, premium solutions" Ms Nelson said.

"It is exciting to be supplying such an innovative product, particularly to this landmark 'nation-building' project which will also create additional employment and industry opportunities in regional communities right across Australia, including Whyalla.".

Ms Nelson said as well as helping Liberty secure the new contract, this product may also reduce roller-wear, increasing the productivity of Whyalla's rail manufacturing process.

"ARTC have a choice about where they buy their steel from, so we're very pleased that they're continuing to buy our high-quality, Australian-made steel for the next stage of this vital infrastructure project," she said.

"They will also be one of our customers that will soon see the benefit from a $3 million investment in the existing Whyalla rail plant, which will lead to various improvements and deliver enhancements in productivity and accuracy."

The Institute of Railway Technology at Monash University peer reviewed the new profile and provided valuable support through the development of the final product.