Australia’s rail network, the sixth largest in the world, transports more than 1.3 billion tonnes of freight each year.
With the future of Australia’s economic growth strongly reliant of an efficient rail network, it’s imperative that track quality remains high.
A significant portion of Australian railway systems are supported by timber sleepers, which require replacing every 10 to 20 years, with the cost of materials, installation and disruption substantial.
Nearly 90% of the existing timber sleepers in Australia will need replacement by 2025, estimated to cost more than $1 billion.
Track closures due to replacement of poor condition railway sleepers costs $10 to $20 million per day in lost revenue. In addition, almost $300 million dollars is currently spent every year on railway track maintenance.
Compounding with this, it has been increasingly difficult to get suitable quality hardwood over the past decade, to keep up with the demand for railway maintenance.