Works on Stage 2 of the $440 million Murray Basin Rail Project is underway, which will continue to upgrade and convert more than 1,000 kilometres of track to standard gauge. Once completed, the upgraded track will provide better rail freight services as well as improve access to major ports.
Preliminary works are also underway along the line, including the removal of vegetation and site investigations. Major works are expected to commence in Dunolly, which will deliver major upgrades to the Mildura freight rail line.
The project will upgrade and standardise the track from Dunolly to Yelta and from Ouyen to Murrayville as well as re-open the Maryborough to Ararat line. The upgrade works will also increase train axle loadings from 19 to 21 tonnes between Dunolly and Yelta as well as from Maryborough to Ararat, allowing freight trains to carry heavier loads.
According to Federal Minister for Infrastructure and Transport Darren Chester, the project will be providing better rail access between the Murray Basin and major ports in Victoria – including at Portland, Geelong and Melbourne.
“Improving the performance of the regional Victorian rail freight network will bolster the state’s agricultural sector, drive economic growth, help create jobs and boost regional communities.
“The Murray Basin Rail Project will standardise rail gauges and increase maximum freight volumes, allowing higher volumes of goods to be carried more efficiently,” Mr Chester said.
This project is expected to support over 400 jobs during peak construction, with up to 60 local jobs to be generated in the Central Goldfields Shire.
The Murray Basin Freight Rail Project is jointly funded by the Victorian and Australian Governments, both contributing approximately $220 million.