The rail operator said Thursday it had moved quickly to finalise engineering designs and had released tendered packages for civil work on the rail development.
WIRP will involve a 13km balloon loop near Gladstone, upgrades to sections of the North Coast line, the Moura system and the Bauhinia branch line, as well as duplication of sections of track along the Blackwater system.
QR National Network executive vice president Michael Carter said the project would create a vital link between WICET and the mines in central Queensland.
“This project is one of the largest rail expansions in Australia,” Carter said.
“The project will support the initial 27 million tonnes per annum of coal to WICET and leverage our existing rail infrastructure to boost coal exports from the southern end of the Bowen Basin by 30 per cent.”
Stage one of WIRP will take place from March across the Balloon loop, Rocklands to Stanwell duplication and Moura East once civil construction contracts are awarded.
Early works commenced in January at the Balloon loop site near Gladstone, with signalling alliance Aspect 3 preparing the site for construction.
Signalling work will also begin on the Rocklands to Stanwell duplication near Gracemere by the end of February.
First railings for WIRP are anticipated for completion mid-2014 and overall completion is tipped for March 2015.
The construction phase of the project will create up to 3000 direct and indirect jobs and draw on the services of local companies and suppliers.