Mildura rail upgrade on track


The majority of works to upgrade a failing rail freight route in regional Victoria is on track

The majority of works to upgrade a failing rail freight route in regional Victoria is on track for a mid-2009 completion.

A joint government project to upgrade 525km of the Mildura freight line is about 75 percent complete, according to Minister for Infrastructure and Transport Anthony Albanese.

He says 220,000 sleepers have been installed as part of the upgrade which will replace about every two in five sleepers along the line.

Furthermore, a third rail line will be added at level crossings for future standardisation.

The works are being bankrolled by the Rudd and Brumby Governments, with $20 million coming from the federal purse and $53 million from Victoria’s.

"The Mildura freight line is of great importance to the State of Victoria and both governments have allocated the necessary resources to ensure the future of the line," Albanese says.

Victorian Minister for Public Transport Lynne Kosky says 47 level crossings along the line have already received a third rail.

"Once complete, freight trains will be able to operate at 80km/h, reducing travel times along the line from 14 hours to less than 10," Kosky says.

"These important works will focus on creating a faster, more reliable and efficient rail link and give producers greater incentive to transport freight by rail."

The upgrade, however, will cause road closures on a number of local routes. Work on the track will stop during the summer months, and work will resume in March 2009.

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