Trains can now carry more freight through a key section of Victoria’s freight network thanks to track upgrades completed as part of the Murray Basin Rail Project.

Freight capacity on the Ararat to Maryborough Line has increased to 21-tonne axle loading following the installation of new rail and extra ballast along the 88-kilometre section of track.

Work began on the upgrade in late April and was completed during a recent 39-day closure of the line, with 166 kilometres of rail and 75,000 tonnes of ballast installed to allow freight trains to operate with heavier loads.

In a sustainability boost for the project, the rail was delivered by 11 separate freight train trips from South Australia, replacing the equivalent of 356 truck trips for the more than 800-kilometre journey each way.

Scrap rail from the track upgrades has been donated to the Daylesford Spa Country Railway, where it will be used to replace sections of current line and assist with a planned future extension for the tourist railway.


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Design work and planning approvals are continuing for the next stage of upgrades to the Murray Basin freight network, including extending a passing loop at Emu, building new passing loops at Tourello and Elmhurst, a mobile refuelling station at Ouyen and signalling upgrades at the Ouyen and Maryborough yards.

The Murray Basin Rail Project will increase the number of weekly train paths on the Murray Basin network from 28 to 49 and is supporting 1,000 direct and indirect jobs during delivery.