Second stage of the $144 million Murray Basin Project in Victoria is underway

Posted: 3 August 2017 | | No comments yet

Works are underway on the second stage of the $440 million Murray Basin Rail Project, continuing the upgrade and the conversion of over 1,000 kilometres of track to standard gauge – providing better rail freight services and improved freight access to major ports.

Preliminary works for the Murray Basin Project in Victoria are already underway and works are also set to begin in Dunolly, delivering major upgrades to the Mildura freight rail line. Crews will upgrade and standardise the track from Dunolly to Yelta, and Ouyen to Murrayville, as well as reopening the Maryborough to Ararat line.

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. It will also take around 20,000 trucks off the roads in Victoria each year, cutting crashes and emissions.

Federal Minister for Infrastructure and Transport, Darren Chester, said the project would provide better rail access between the Murray Basin and Victoria’s major ports 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,” Mr Chester said. “The Murray Basin Rail Project will standardise rail gauges and increase maximum freight volumes, allowing higher volumes of goods to be carried more efficiently.”

The $440 million Murray Basin Freight Rail Project is jointly funded by the Australian and Victorian governments, with both contributing up to $220 million.

Victorian Minister for Public Transport, Jacinta Allan, added that this was great news for regional Victoria and the area is getting on with transforming Victoria’s rail freight network: “We’re boosting capacity, safety and reliability of freight services in regional Victoria so we can meet the future growth of the region,” Ms Allan said. “This much-needed project will enable primary producers to move produce to market, more efficiently.”

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