Next stage of Murray Basin Rail Project underway


Once complete, the project is expected to take 20,000 trucks off regional roads each year

Next stage of Murray Basin Rail Project underway
The project aims to improve rail freight link between regional industries and Victoria's major ports.

 

Preliminary works are underway to standardise 1,000 kilometres of rail track across regional Victoria under Stage 2 of the million Murray Basin Rail Project.

Jointly funded by the Australian and Victorian governments on a 50:50 basis, the $440 million Murray Basin Freight Rail Project will result in better rail freight services and improved link between regional industries and Victoria's major ports at Portland, Geelong and Melbourne.

Upgrade works include standardising the track from Dunolly to Yelta, and Ouyen to Murrayville, and reopening the Maryborough to Ararat line.

Once complete, the project is expected to take 20,000 trucks off regional roads each year, which is expected to improve road safety and reduce carbon emissions.

The works will increase train axle loadings from 19 tonnes to 21 tonnes between Dunolly and Yelta, and Maryborough to Ararat to allow freight trains to carry heavier loads.

The Sea Lake and Manangatang lines will remain open during this time and freight operators can consider using these lines as another option to keep moving freight by rail with works being scheduled outside of grain harvest seasons.

Work on the Mildura line will start on August 7, requiring the closure of the line north of Dunolly for the next five months.

Federal infrastructure and transport minister Darren Chester, Victorian public transport minister Jacinta Allan and federal member for Wannon Dan Tehan inspected equipment and met rail workers at Maryborough yesterday.

Chester and Allan say improving the performance of the regional Victorian rail freight network will boost Victoria's economic growth.

"The Murray Basin Rail Project will standardise rail gauges and increase maximum freight volumes, allowing higher volumes of goods to be carried more efficiently," Chester says.

Allan says the project will improve capacity, safety and reliability of freight services in regional Victoria to meet future growth of the region.

Tehan says the upgrade project itself will benefit employment in the region.

"More than 400 people will be employed on the project at its peak with up to 60 local jobs generated in the Central Goldfields Shire," Tehan says.

"The Murray Basin Rail Project will ultimately enable trains to carry up to 500,000 more tonnes of grain each year and capture about 20,000 journeys currently undertaken by trucks, improving road safety and the road network for all those who use our local roads."

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