Project Sites


Hexham Relief Roads Project

The Hexham Relief Roads Project involves the design and construction of new train lines (relief roads), and associated infrastructure, near the existing Up Coal line at Hexham. Coal mining is an important part of the economy of the Hunter Valley. The increase in worldwide demand for coal has resulted in an expansion of mining in the Hunter Valley with coal exports forecast to increase.

The Hexham Relief Roads Project is an initiative of Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC) to respond to the issue of maintaining future rail capacity ahead of industry demand.

Project need and benefits

The Up Coal and Down Coal lines are separate to the main network lines. Coal trains travel the Up Coal to the Newcastle Port Coal Terminals and empty coal trains travel the Down Coal from the coal terminals to the mines.

A relief road is a rail track that sits beside and connects to a network line. These sections of track are known as "relief roads" because they relieve network congestion by allowing trains to be diverted off the main line and onto the spare track, if needed.

Each train delivering coal to the Newcastle Port has an allocated time to arrive at one of the three coal terminals. Trains that arrive too early or out of sequence have to be rescheduled to their correct place in the queue. The Project will provide train controllers with flexibility to reschedule trains in the event of breakdowns at coal terminals or trains entering the tracks out of sequence. They will do this by moving early or delayed trains onto the relief roads allowing other trains to continue to pass on the Up Coal line.

Key features

Key features include:

  • construction of five new relief roads, approximately two kilometres in length
  • removal and replacement of the down coal line
  • temporary construction compounds and stockpiles
  • modification to existing rail infrastructure and public utilities
  • construction of vehicle access tracks
  • signaling gantry over the relief roads for train signals
  • construction access off the Tarro interchange.

Project approval

Approval for the Project’s construction has been granted by the NSW Minister for Planning and Infrastructure, subject to compliance with the Ministers Conditions of Approval.

What to expect

UHVA would like to advise you that preliminary construction works are scheduled to commence in October 2013, with an anticipated 15 month construction period, weather permitting.

Preliminary works will take place between October 2013 and November 2013 and will include the following activities:

  • install site fence boundaries
  • establish environmental controls
  • establish construction compounds
  • install foundations for over-track conveyor
  • install over-track conveyor
  • survey set out for works
  • pothole for existing services
  • protect or divert utilities.

Full construction activities are scheduled to take place between November 2013 and March 2015 and will include the following activities:

  • clear vegetation where relief roads are to be constructed
  • establish traffic control measures at Tarro Interchange
  • construct site access off Tarro Interchange
  • conduct earthworks, including reconditioning of existing track formation
  • conduct trackworks and signalling
  • construct access tracks
  • tamp and regulate track
  • conduct drainage works
  • undertake site rehabilitation and removal of environmental controls.

Construction hours

Works will generally take place within standard construction hours:

  • 7am – 6pm Monday to Friday
  • 8am – 1pm Saturday

Should works be required outside of these hours, activities would be conducted in accordance with the Environment Protection License (EPL) and the Ministers Conditions of Approval (MCoA). Residents would be notified in advance of any works outside of the standard construction hours.

Track possession works

A track possession results in the suspension of train movements on the rail track and involves works conducted outside of standard construction hours. This allows for a period of uninterrupted maintenance and construction works, which cannot be completed, for safety reasons, while train services are running. Several track possession have been identified during the construction period between October 2013 and March 2015. UHVA will confirm the timing closer to the date. 24 hour day and night track possessions are currently scheduled in:

  • November 2013
  • March 2014
  • May 2014
  • June 2014
  • August 2014
  • October 2014
  • November 2014
  • March 2015.

Works planned during these periods include:

  • removal of existing track, turnouts, crossovers and sleepers
  • reconditioning of formation where tracks have been removed
  • installation of track equipment and modifications to existing turnouts, crossovers and sleepers
  • tamping and ballast regulation
  • installation and commissioning of signal civil structures.

Should additional unscheduled track possessions be required, these would be conducted in accordance with the EPL and MCoA’s and residents would be notified in advance.

Keeping the community informed

UHVA will continue to keep the community informed about the Project’s progression. If you have any questions please contact us on 1800 722 669 or email us at

Project Documents

Maps Uploaded
Project area 09 Dec 2013
Location of the proposal 12 Apr 2012
Newsletters Uploaded
March 2015 05 Mar 2015
February 2015 13 Feb 2015
January 2015 11 Jan 2015
Dec 2014 12 Dec 2014
Nov 2014 03 Nov 2014
Oct 2014 03 Oct 2014
Sep 2014 02 Sep 2014
Aug 2014 05 Aug 2014
Jul 2014 08 Jul 2014
Jun 2014 14 Jun 2014
May 2014 13 May 2014
April 2014 15 Apr 2014
March 2014 06 Mar 2014
February 2014 19 Mar 2014
November 2013 13 Nov 2013
August 2012 09 Aug 2012
March 2012 12 Apr 2012
Advertisements Uploaded
March 2012 12 Apr 2012
Environmental Assessment Uploaded
Preliminary 12 Apr 2012
Director General's Requirements 12 Apr 2012
Environmental Impact Statement Uploaded
Complete EIS Package (All 34 files, 192 MB .zip) 14 Aug 2012
Chapter 01-03 14 Aug 2012
Chapter 04 14 Aug 2012
Chapter 05-11 14 Aug 2012
Chapter 12-26 14 Aug 2012
References 14 Aug 2012
A - DGRs, Consultation and Risk Analysis - 1 14 Aug 2012
B - Flood Assessment - 1 14 Aug 2012
C - Ecological Assessment - 1 14 Aug 2012
D - Noise and Vibration Assessment - 1 - 2 14 Aug 2012
E - Traffic Impact Assessment - 1  
F - Contamination Assessment - 1 - 2 - 3 - 4 - 5 14 Aug 2012
G - Air Quality Assessment - 1 14 Aug 2012
H - Indigenous Heritage Assessment
     1 - 2A - 2B - 3 - 4 - 5 - 6 - 7
14 Aug 2012
I - Non-Indigenous Heritage Assessment
     1A - 1B - 2 - 3
14 Aug 2012
J - Fluvial Geomorphology Assessment - 1 - 2 14 Aug 2012
K - Groundwater Assessment - 1 14 Aug 2012
L - Water quality Assessment - 1 14 Aug 2012
M - Visual Assessment - 1 14 Aug 2012
Preferred Infrastructure Report
Preferred Infrastructure Report
CEMP & Subplans
Hexham Relief Roads
Construction Ancillary Facilities Management Plan
Construction Soil & Water Quality Management Plan
Construction Noise & Vibration Management Plan
Construction Historic Heritage Management Plan
Construction Aboriginal Heritage Management Plan
Construction Flora & Fauna Management Plan
Construction Traffic & Access Management Plan
Construction Air Quality and Energy Efficiency Management Plan
Construction Waste, Reuse and Recycling Management Plan
Construction Acid Sulfate Soil Management Plan
Remedial Action Plan
Water Quality Monitoring Plan
Construction Contamination Management Plan
Community Communication Strategy
Pollution Incident Response Management Plan Community Notification Process
Compliance Tracking Program
Notification of Commencement of Construction
6-month Construction Compliance Report
Flood Review Report
Ecological Monitoring 2013-2014
Ecological Monitoring 2015
Operational Noise and Vibration Review
Operational Noise and Vibration Review - Public Document for Condition C3 of Project Approval
Operational Environmental Management Integration Plan
Operational Environmental Management Integration Plan




Traffic Updates and Out Of Hours Works

For more information please contact the UHVA project team on 1800 722 669

Or by email at