Construction on a coal rail project in Rutherford has come to a halt today with protesters blocking work to the site.

The Hunter 8 Alliance site is building a third rail track from Maitland to Whittingham in hopes to increase coal transport capacity.

But this morning about a dozen protestors turned up at the site and obstructed workers.

Behind the protest is Newcastle activist group Rising Tide who have set up a 10 metre high wooden structure that looks somewhat like a tripod. Perched atop the wooden structure is a Rising Tide protester who refused to come down.