Almost 70,000 sleepers are being installed between Korong Vale and Sea Lake, Victoria, to improve rail freight efficiency as part of the Murray Basin Rail Project.
The Murray Basin Rail Project is expected to support 1000 direct and indirect jobs.
Deputy Prime Minister and Federal Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development Minister Michael McCormack said the project would keep rail freight moving efficiently for generations to come.
“In December last year, the Federal Government announced an additional $200.2 million for the Murray Basin Freight Rail Network, including $195.2 million for the most extensive package of works recommended by the revised business case undertaken by the Victorian Government,” the Deputy Prime Minister said.
“I’m pleased that work has now started on this important 141-kilometre track, which services two major Victorian grain terminals.
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“These works will improve safety and reliability along the line, with four level-crossing renewals and maintenance on more than 3000 joints.
It is part of the Federal Government’s $110 billion infrastructure investment, which aims to help the Australian economy recover from the global pandemic.
Other projects have seen freight trains return to the Mildura and Murrayville to Ouyen lines, the Maryborough to Ararat line reopened after 15 years and significant upgrades have been made to the Hopetoun, Manangatang and Yelta lines.
“We know how important the Murray Basin Rail Project is to Victorian primary producers – and we’re excited to get on and deliver work ahead of the next grain season,” McCormack said.
Victorian Ports and Freight Minister Melissa Horne said the project would move more freight onto rail as the state’s primary production output grows – making it easier for Victorian farmers to get their products to market.
“We are committed to shifting more freight onto rail to support our exporters and ensure Victoria’s freight and logistics system meets the needs of a growing population and economy,” Horne said.
Work will continue over the coming months to remove bottlenecks and improve the network’s efficiency, replacing 23,000 sleepers between Inglewood and Korong Vale and nearly 28,000 new sleepers between Dunolly and Inglewood.
Federal Member for Wannon Dan Tehan said the works would deliver more freight paths and major improvements along the network.
“The revised scope of works prioritised and recommended by the Victorian Government will be delivered with an additional $195.2 million investment from the Australian Government and $48.8 million from the Victorian Government,” Tehan said.
“These improvements include replacing sleepers, adding passing loops, upgrading signalling and improving train sidings and refuelling facilities.
“The additional investment by the Australian Government brings our total commitment to the Murray Basin Freight Rail Network to more than $440 million since 2016 and together with the Victorian Government, total investment in the network to more than $800 million.