New passing loop to cut rail travel times

New passing loop completed on the North-South rail line connecting Melbourne to Brisbane as part of $25.9 million investment

July 29, 2011

A new passing loop has opened on the north-south line connecting Melbourne to Brisbane as part of plans to improve the rail industry’s competitiveness.

Minister for Infrastructure and Transport Anthony Albanese says the $25.9 million loop near Donnybrook will, along with a new loop being built further north near Culcairn, cut transit times and improve capacity between Melbourne and the NSW town of Junee.

The multi-million dollar project, which opened today, involved laying 6.8km of new track and sleepers and installing turnouts and signalling technology.

It forms part of the Federal Government’s $3.4 billion spend on modernising the rail network, which involves rebuilding 3,771km of track and extending it another 235km.

"Passing lanes are significant pieces of infrastructure which allow trains carrying freight between our capital cities to pass each other at regular speed. This has the important roll-on effect of reducing overall transit time on the main south line between Sydney and Melbourne," Australian Rail Track Corporation CEO John Fullerton says.

"We’re pushing forward with our ambitious upgrade of Brisbane-Sydney-Melbourne corridor, part of our plan to make rail even more competitive."

Fullerton says the increasing demand on the freight task means the trucking industry will not be able to handle it alone.

"This investment and the resurgence in freight rail is also good news for the wider community. It will allow more freight to be transported by rail – which over time will mean fewer trucks on our roads," he says.

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