Adelaide–Melbourne rail gets freight boost

New crossing loops allow for bigger trains and bigger freight movements

Adelaide–Melbourne rail gets freight boost
The Melbourne–Adelaide Loops project underway. Courtesy: ARTC.


The federal government is anticipating a 20 per cent increase in freight productivity between Melbourne and Adelaide after extending a number of crossing loops to accommodate 1,800-metre trains.

Describing the $15 million Melbourne–Adelaide Loops project's completion as a win for rail operators, road safety and congestion, federal infrastructure and transport minister Darren Chester says "we have created a situation where the maximum length of trains operating from Adelaide to Melbourne can be increased by up to 300 metres."

"The upgrade will create a 20 per cent increase in productivity for rail operators and remove the need to send additional train services back to Melbourne with empty wagons," Chester says.

"The longer, more efficient trains mean less congestion for motorists and improved road safety, as well as cutting transport costs."

The upgrades took place at five Victorian sections of the rail in Pyrenees, Murtoa, Pimpinio, Diapur and Dimboola, and at South Australia’s Mile End loop - though that wasn’t the initial plan.

"The initial scope of the project was to deliver five extensions to crossing loops, which provide opportunities for trains heading in opposite directions to pass each other on single line sections of track," Chester says, "but thanks to clever project management, an extra passing loop at Dimboola in regional Western Victoria was also upgraded within the original project budget."

Capable of carrying the equivalent freight of more than 85 B-doubles, the new 1,800-metre trains form part of the federal government’s ongoing push to promote freight by rail.

Completed by the Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC), the Melbourne–Adelaide Loops project is just part of the upgrades being completed in South Australia with the Australian and South Australian Government Torrens Junction Rail Project set to allow 1,800-metre trains to travel from Melbourne to Perth from later this year.

The Inland Rail project, which would take trains from Melbourne to Brisbane, is also forging ahead.

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