Mildura rail freight corridor progress
The $73 million project to upgrade the Mildura rail freight corridor is progressing well and moving north towards Maryborough, said the Victorian Public Transport Minister, Lynne Kosky.
The project is jointly funded by the Victorian and Federal governments, with $53 million from the State Government and $20 million from the Commonwealth AusLink program.
Ms Kosky has inspected the works at Creswick with Geoff Howard, the Member for Ballarat East.
“More than 70,000 sleepers have been replaced along the line since works commenced in December,” she said.
She said nearly a quarter of the works are now complete, with the sleepers along the 525km corrider between Geelong and Melbourne being replaced at a rate of 1,100 per day.
Mr Howard said: “Soon the speed on the Geelong to Ballarat section will increase to 80 km per hour, making freight movements on the route more efficient.
“The upgrade will ensure the line remains open and able to serve the freight trains needed to carry grain and primary produce like fruit and vegetables.”
Ms Kosky said the upgrade of the Mildura line, which is critical for export of regional produce from Victoria’s north-west, would improve the reliability and efficiency of the line and give producers greater incentive to transport goods via rail freight.
The rail upgrade is being undertaken with gauge convertible sleepers and a third rail is being added at level crossings which will allow for standardisation in future.
As with most major projects some disruption is necessary to complete the work. Ms Kosky said some level crossing closures will be required in Maryborough in mid June and advised motorists to watch out for advertising and signage.
Ms Kosky said the project demonstrates the Brumby Government’s commitment to a sustainable rail freight network for Victoria.
“There are a number of initiatives underway to improve the rail freight network in Victoria including the $133 million buy back of the regional freight network from Pacific National last year and the $43 million recently committed to upgrade major regional freight lines and the $20 million Rail Freight Support Package,” she said.