Improving the Network: Sleeper Decay
Inspections of around 100,000 imported sleepers on the network found that around 7,000 (7%) were showing signs of premature decay.
• The supplies are from a single supplier based in South America and it is clear that these were never compliant with stringent Australian standards.
• There are approximately 6 million sleepers on the network in total, the 100,000 imported sleepers are 1.7% of this and the 7,000 of these showing decay are 0.12% of the total sleeper number.
• Safety is always the first priority and that is why action has been taken to test, inspect and start a replacement programme. Put simply, services would not continue if it was suspected the network was not safe for staff and passengers. To that end we are conducting extra inspections of the rail network to monitor decay rates in the sleepers.
A replacement programme is underway and around 200-300 sleepers have already been replaced. More sleepers will be arriving over the coming months and the decayed sleepers will be replaced on a priority basis.