Rail line reopens for freight
The historic Maryborough to Ararat rail line has reopened, with driver training underway on the $440-million Murray Basin Rail Project.
Deputy Prime Minister and Infrastructure and Transport Minister Barnaby Joyce said the 87-kilometre Maryborough to Ararat rail corridor, which closed in the early 2000s, was set to return as a freight line, boosting regional primary producers and exporters.
“Victoria’s Murray Basin is a nationally important producer and exporter of grain, mineral sands, fruit, vegetables and wine,” he said.
“The Murray Basin Rail Project is an investment in these industries, the competitiveness of our port and freight operators and Australia’s economy.”
Member for Wannon and Minister for Social Services Dan Tehan and Victorian Public Transport Minister Jacinta Allan inspected the line at Avoca last week.
Mr Tehan said the project was supporting farmers, their families and the region’s economy by investing in transport infrastructure.
“The overarching project will be a game changer for rail freight in Victoria and will provide a viable alternative to road freight,” he said.
“More than 500 workers, including 220 from regional Victoria, have been employed on the Australian and Victorian government-funded project, with more than 40 businesses from central Victoria engaged to provide a range of services.”
A phased return of freight services to the Mildura line is also underway, with sections of the track progressively opening from south to north.
The Federal Government has committed $240.2-million and the State Government $199.8-million to fund the Murray Basin Rail Project.
Construction is due for completion by late 2018. People can visit www.murraybasinrail project.com.au for more information.