Client

ETTT Alliance (Leighton / Lend Lease) & TfNSW

Location

Along the Sydney Northern Rail Line between Pennant Hills Road and M2 Motorway

Project Type

Bulk sandstone removal through multiple cuts for the new freight rail line (third track construction) within existing rail corridor & live trains every 4 minutes

Geology

Class 1 and 2 Hawkesbury Sandstone

Project Overview

The project formed part of the Transport for New South Wales North Sydney Freight Corridor Program and involved the construction of six kilometres of new and upgraded track within the rail corridor between the Epping and Thornleigh stations on the western side of the existing tracks.

The new (third) track separates northbound freight from all-stops passenger train movements along the steep incline between Epping and Thornleigh. This will help provide additional capacity for northbound (interstate container) freight trains, particularly during the daytime when passenger trains currently have priority.

Effective Dust Control Environment & Sensitive Receivers

When works commenced, it immediately became apparent that the type of sandstone material encountered was prone to generating a large volume of dust when cutting. At this stage STE proactively decided to source a method to eliminate the impact on the environment and sensitive receivers.

STE consulted with various field experts, both internally and externally, and made the decision that a dry vacuum system was the solution. The team proceeded with mobilising a 12000cfm mobile dust collection and filtration unit to site, which proved to be extremely successful and has been acknowledged by the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) who inspected the equipment in action solution allowed the equipment to continue cutting throughout the day with no downtime due to environmental concerns.

The success of the mobile vacuum unit on this project, which was towed on a tractor and trailer, has led to the development of our current remote controlled tracked units which are 35,000cfm and 20m3/second and use euro 4/5 compliant Volvo Penta engines.
The new (third) track separates northbound freight from all-stops passenger train movements along the steep incline between Epping and Thornleigh. This will help provide additional capacity for northbound (interstate container) freight trains, particularly during the daytime when passenger trains currently have priority.

Noise Advantages Environmental

With surface mining, compared to conventional rock hammering, noise is significantly less intrusive and STE continued with works in close proximity to residential areas without the need for any E.P.A respite periods. The vibration generated by the surface mining, compared to conventional methods, was significantly less with vibration unnoticeable whilst works were carried out, resulting in the project being ahead of program and a success for residents, the client and STE.

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