Major Construction for Murray Basin Rail Project due to Begin Later this year

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The multi-phased Murray Basin Rail project aims to standardise freight rail between Geelong and Mildura and also improve infrastructure for rail transport in the region.

The Murray Basin Rail project will be creating approximately 276 jobs in construction and will be completed in four stages.

Initiated in February last year, the Murray Basin Rail project will include significant upgrades to the rail freight network in Victoria in order to increase freight capacity.

The Federal Government matched the Victorian Government’s $220 million commitment for the project, which should increase the capacity for grain on the Victorian rail network by a huge 311,000 tonnes each year.

Stage one began in February 2015 and included essential maintenance works, along with 3,400 metres of rail and 130,000 sleepers on the Mildura freight line between Maryborough and Yelta.

[cwa id='content-ad']  Andrew Broad is the Federal Member for Mallee, and he said that the network upgrade will reduce rail freight costs for producers and he wants the Mildura line to have a 24-hour turn around.

“There’s been a real dearth of investment in rail freight for a very long time,” he said, and made it clear that the announcement for funding wasn’t just an election year stunt. Instead, the funding came from money that was going to be used for the East-West project.

National MP Darren Chester said that he’s also open to potentially adding to the Murray Basin Rail Project and reinstating passenger rail as it would equal greater value for money.

The line from Gheringap through Ballarat and to Maryborough will be converted to dual-gauge, while many others will be converted to standard-gauge, including Maryborough to Mildura and Yelta and Sea Lake to Korong Vale.

The current mix of both broad and narrow gauge freight lines create massive inefficiencies and make it difficult for grains to be delivered to the ports. Standardising the lines and lifting their capacity (allowing them to carry heavier trains) will mean that hauling grain will cost less and it will also be more efficient.

Major construction is due to begin in the second half of 2016 and should be completed by late 2018.

Sources: NICS, Labor's 100 Positive Policies, StockandLand.com, ABC News, Railway Technology, Rail Journal, Fully Loaded, Vic Govt, Bendigo Advertiser.

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