The Federal Government has announced teams of specialist engineers and environmental advisers have begun work on identifying and investigating the design, safety and conversion issues associated with the proposed Maldon to Dombarton Rail Link.

Federal Minister for Infrastructure and Transport, Anthony Albanese, said that the work now being undertaken will help get the project ‘shovel ready’, and will include assessing the structural integrity of the line’s partially constructed sections.

“As with any new, major piece of infrastructure we need to make sure that we get the planning right from the very beginning.  What's more, the work of the consultants will be vital to securing the necessary planning and environmental approvals,” said Mr Albanese.

“Our aim is to have all these preconstruction activities wrapped up in time for the project to be considered for possible inclusion in our next multibillion dollar road and rail construction program due to start in mid-2014.”

The project would involve laying thirty five kilometres of standard gauge track connecting Port Kembla directly to the Main North South Line via Dombarton and include two passing loops, new bridges over the Nepean and Cordeaux Rivers and one of Australia's longest tunnels.