Getting the Murray Basin Rail project done

Media Release

DC385/2017

30 November 2017

Joint release with:

Jacinta Allan

Victorian Minister for Public Transport

Further progress is being made on the Murray Basin Rail Project with a construction blitz in the west of the state this week to upgrade the Ararat to Maryborough freight line and deliver a half a million maintenance boost for the Maryborough passenger line.

The four-day blitz will remove level crossings, replace sleepers and lay new rail to reopen the Maryborough to Ararat freight lines.

The work also includes reconfiguring track in the Dunolly rail yard to allow standard gauge freight trains from the Mildura line to connect with the soon-to-be-reopened Maryborough to Ararat line—allowing better access to Victoria's ports.

Crews from the McConnell Dowell Martinus Rail Joint Venture who were contracted to deliver the project will also continue work will replace sleepers and rail, remove level crossings and complete welding in preparation for the line's reopening in January.

Federal Minister for Infrastructure and Transport Darren Chester said the Murray Basin Rail Project will upgrade and convert more than 1000 kilometres of track to standard gauge—allowing more produce to be transported via rail.

“This project is in full swing and this blitz signals another important step towards the completion of stage two,” Mr Chester said.

Victorian Minister for Public Transport Jacinta Allan said we are getting on with delivering the Murray Basin Rail Project and this week's work will lead to the reopening of the Maryborough to Ararat line.

“We're using this opportunity to conduct critical maintenance work to ensure safe and reliable services for passengers on the Maryborough line,” Ms Allan said.

To minimise disruption to the local community, works will also start on the Maryborough passenger line, with more than 30 staff upgrading the line between Maryborough and Ballarat as part of a $500,000 package of work to keep trains running smoothly for passengers.

The signalling systems and level crossing equipment between Creswick and Clunes will be upgraded and track improvement works will be carried out between Ballarat and Clunes. Rail bridges at Havelock and Bet Bet will also be upgraded to maintain safe, reliable freight services.

To enable these works to occur, coaches will replace all trains between Maryborough and Ballarat, connecting with trains between Ballarat and Melbourne, from Thursday 30 November to Sunday 3 December.

Maryborough line passengers are encouraged to plan their journey in advance and allow an additional 15 minutes' travel time.

The Murray Basin Rail Project is jointly funded with the Australian Government providing $240 million and Victorian Government $200 million.