Ministers for the Department of Infrastructure, Regional Development and Cities The Hon Michael McCormack MP Deputy Prime MinisterMinister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development Senator the Hon Bridget McKenzie Minister for Regional ServicesMinister for SportMinister for Local Government and Decentralisation The Hon Alan Tudge MP Minister for Cities, Urban Infrastructure and Population The Hon Sussan Ley MP Assistant Minister for Regional Development and Territories The Hon Andrew Broad MP Former Assistant Minister to the Deputy Prime Minister The Hon Scott Buchholz MP Assistant Minister for Roads and Transport The Hon Barnaby Joyce MPFormer Deputy Prime MinisterFormer Minister for Infrastructure and Transport The Hon Dr John McVeigh MPFormer Minister for Regional Development, Territories and Local Government The Hon Keith Pitt MPFormer Assistant Minister to the Deputy Prime Minister The Hon Damian Drum MPFormer Assistant Minister to the Deputy Prime Minister Senator the Hon Fiona Nash Former Minister for Regional DevelopmentFormer Minister for Local Government and Territories The Hon Darren Chester MP Former Minister for Infrastructure and TransportFormer A/g Minister for Regional DevelopmentFormer A/g Minister for Local Government and Territories The Hon Warren Truss MP Former Deputy Prime Minister Former Minister for Infrastructure and Regional Development The Hon Paul Fletcher MP Former Minister for Urban Infrastructure and Cities The Hon Jamie Briggs MP Former Assistant Minister for Infrastructure and Regional Development

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.