The Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC) will enforce a range of measures to ensure the safe and reliable running of the Hunter Valley rail network following its designation as an essential service by state and federal governments.
ARTC group executive Hunter Valley Wayne Johnson said ARTC is working to ensure it balances the safety and reliability of a critical transport network with its obligations to meet and respond to the current public health challenge.
A number of upgrades will be carried out locally from 6.30am Tuesday to 8.30pm Thursday.
"The Hunter Valley rail network plays a vital role in the transport and supply chain - and in supporting the Hunter, NSW and Australian economies," Mr Johnson said. "Around half the trains on the rail network are passenger and ARTC also manages the safe transit of export commodities like coal, grain and other products. The transport of regional freight and interstate goods trains are also served by the Hunter rail network.
"It is critical we continue deliver goods, products and people and we are aware of balancing the demands of running an extensive rail network, with the health and welfare of our people and communities."
Mr Johnson said delivering a safe and reliable rail network means critical maintenance work will be required.
"As coronavirus continues to spread and disrupt lives, we have implemented measures to ensure our team and the community's safety, while ensuring reliable network operations are sustained for critical freight movements," he said.
"ARTC will take a range of additional measures for this week's work noting current COVID-19 health concerns, including limiting workers to local employees and contractors which scales back the workforce by more than 500, ensuring teams work in smaller groups and in separate locations.
"The work still requires a shutdown of the network and alternative public transport will be provided for train customers."
Details and schedules are on the Transport for NSW website.