VIC Murray Basin Rail Project to progress to next delivery stage

Monica Gameng   |   August 5, 2022
Rail line (cr: Victoria's Big Build)

Victoria’s Murray Basin Rail Project is progressing well with the completion of early works on the Ouyen to Murrayville line, providing benefits to local producers. 

The early works included the removal of heat and speed restrictions along the 109-kilometre stretch of rail to help improve safety and reliability along the line. 

Other early works include replacing more than 57,000 sleepers as well as the addition of 30,000 tonnes of ballast and track adjustments, which enables the line to remain operational even when temperatures reach 33 degrees. 

In addition, track upgrades are also being carried out on the Ararat to Maryborough Line since May of this year. The works are part of the next stage of the project, following significant planning, design and industry consultation. 

In late April, delivery for the160 kilometres worth of 47-kilogram rail that will be installed between Ararat and Maryborough commenced and will continue until September. Over 40 crew members have already upgraded approximately 20 kilometres of track. These works are set to be completed by the end of the year. 

“It’s great to see early works complete on the Ouyen to Murrayville line – which will improve safety, capacity and reliability of services and better connect local producers to our major ports,” Minister for Transport Infrastructure Jacinta Allan said. 

RRR-MBRP-scope-mapMurray Basin Rail Project scope (source: Regional Rail Revival)

Upgrading the track to a higher standard will allow for more types of freight trains to operate on the line with heavier loads which, in turn, will increase load capacity for all wagons by about 15 per cent. 

The track upgrades will also enable up to 49 weekly return train paths on the Murray Basin rail network – an increase from the current 28 paths – and this will help remove up to 20,000 truck trips off regional roads annually. 

In the Donald Yard, construction is progressing on a 300-metre siding that will improve operations for freight trains and wagons to be stored while not in use. To boost the sustainability of the project, recycled plastic composite sleepers are going to be utilised for the siding – which is supplied by Mildura-based Integrated Recycling. 

As part of the project, trackside drainage at Donald will be improved, including under the Borung Highway level crossing. 

In the coming months, work to extend siding at Merbein will commence as well. This will allow for the stabling of a 1,200-metre train off the mainline, increasing capacity for rail freight users in the region. 

Procurement and design work are also getting underway on further upgrades to the rail network, including new crossing loops and sidings, improvements to Maryborough junction and signalling upgrades. 

“These works and our investments across the freight network mean heavier and faster trains, bringing costs down for our primary producers and exporters and making it easier to get products to market,” Minister for Ports and Freight Melissa Horne said. 

The Murray Basin Rail Project is anticipated to support 1,000 direct and indirect jobs during the delivery phase, providing a significant boost to the transport industry as well as agricultural sector and regional communities. 

The scope of the project includes: 

  • Re-sleepering, adding ballast and adjusting track on the Ouyen to Murrayville Line (completed) 
  • Track upgrades from Ararat to Maryborough 
  • New or upgraded sidings at Donald and Merbein 
  • New and extended passing loops 
  • Upgraded signalling at Ararat and Maryborough junctions and the Ouyen yard 
  • Re-sleepering from Sea Lake to Dunolly (completed) 
  • Planning and assessment work for further upgrades 

Source: Premier of Victoria – Media Centre; Victoria’s Big Build – Regional Rail Revival; Infrastructure Magazine; Roads & Infrastructure Australia; The National Tribune; Australian Rural and Regional News 

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Monica Gameng
As Felix's Marketing Assistant since 2015, Monica is responsible for researching and sharing new and progressing projects within the construction and mining sectors in Australia. It's no surprise that Monica has her finger on the pulse of Australian major projects given she has produced more than 1,000 posts. She truly is an industry expert.
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