The Australasian Railway Association (ARA) has welcomed UGL’s appointment to operate and maintain NSW’s Country Regional Network for the next 10 years.

ARA Chief Executive Officer Caroline Wilkie said the $1.5 billion contract would see further improvements implemented across the network at a time when rail will play an increasingly important role in the state’s freight network.

“UGL has extensive experience in the Australian rail industry, providing a safe pair of hands for the management of this critical rail network,” Ms Wilkie said.

“With rail to play a leading role in meeting the state’s growing freight task over the next decade, it is essential we get the best from our existing infrastructure.

“This contract will deliver increased maintenance to provide the best possible standards for the people and businesses that rely on the network.”

Ms Wilkie said it was pleasing to see UGL’s commitment to base at least 80 per cent of jobs in the regions and set itself an industry-leading indigenous employment target.

“UGL has shown they want to be a genuine part of the community as they deliver this contract and that has to be good for regional cities and towns,” she said.

“The creation of a Network Control Centre in Orange will be welcome news for the region and will create new opportunities to support the town’s growth.”

The 10-year contract commences in January 2022 and will include the operation and maintenance of the Country Rail Network, including 2400km of operational lines and 3000km of non-operations lines.

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