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Contracts awarded for Cranbrook and Konnongorring rapid rail and outloading projects


The CBH Group has awarded key contracts for the Cranbrook and Konnongorring rapid rail and outloading projects.

Laing O’Rourke’s Australian division will be responsible for the construction of the rail siding extension and new rapid rail loading facility at Cranbrook.

Gamuda Group of Companies’ DT Infrastructure will be responsible for the construction of the new rail siding at Konnongorring.

Construction for both projects is scheduled to commence in April 2024, starting with site establishment, fencing, clearing and earthworks.

The Konnongorring rail siding is expected to be completed in the December quarter of 2024. The Cranbrook project (both the rail siding and rapid rail loading facility) is expected to be finished in the September quarter of 2025.

Cranbrook and Konnongorring are the next two out of 11 rail siding extension projects at CBH sites, funded in partnership with the Western Australian and Federal Governments under Package 1 of the Agricultural Supply Chain Improvements (ASCI) Program.

The Broomehill rapid rail and outloading project is progressing well (expected to be complete in mid-2024) and the Brookton rail siding extension was finished in August last year ahead of schedule and under budget.

Chief Project Delivery Officer Sam Gliddon said it was great to see two more critical projects enter construction as part of CBH’s $4 billion investment in the network over the next 10 years.

“We are pleased to welcome Laing O’Rourke and DT Infrastructure onboard as our head contractors at Cranbrook and Konnongorring respectively, two highly respected international companies,” Mr Gliddon said.

“Starting these rapid rail and outloading projects is a major achievement and a testament to the hard work many of our colleagues across all divisions at CBH have put in to get these projects designed, approved and underway.

“Improving the outloading capabilities of Western Australia’s grain supply chain is a major focus for CBH, and we are proud to invest in fixed rail loading infrastructure alongside the Western Australian and Federal Governments investment in new or extended rail sidings.

“These projects will enable CBH to move grain more efficiently to port, especially in the first half of the calendar year, maximising the value to WA growers today, and future generations.”

At Cranbrook, the existing rail siding will be more than doubled, extended from 995m to 2,000 metres in length, as well as the realignment of 395 metres of the existing rail siding. The rail siding extension will be complemented with a new 6,600 tonne fixed rail loading facility.

It currently takes approximately seven hours to load 60 wagons at Cranbrook, which includes multiple shunts that disrupt the mainline and impact level crossings. Once complete, a 60-wagon train will be able to be loaded in around four hours at Cranbrook– free of level crossings and without disrupting the mainline.

At Konnongorring, the new rail siding will help transform the site from being a predominately road transport site to a rail and road site, taking trucks off the road.

Previously it took around 14 hours to load a 52-wagon train using the existing infrastructure at Konnongorring; with the siding and future facility construction works, this time will be reduced to approximately four hours.

“The consecutive record harvests in 2021/22 and 2022/23 demonstrated the need to continually improve the export capacity of the network to ensure we can move more tonnes to port to meet market demand,” Mr Gliddon said.

“Improving our outloading infrastructure, especially through rail upgrades, is critical for us to achieve our ‘Path to 2033’ strategic objective of exporting at a peak of 3 million tonnes per month by 2033.