Murray Basin Rail Project

Crews replacing sleepers in Dunolly as part of the Murray Basin Project. A machine lifts sleepers into place.The Victorian Government has invested $220 million in the $416 million Murray Basin Rail Project to upgrade Victoria's rail freight network. This project will boost the safety, capacity and reliability of freight services in northern Victoria, and better connect primary producers to the state's major ports in Portland, Geelong and Melbourne. In April 2016 the Federal Government confirmed a contribution of $220 million for the project, matching state funding.

The Murray Basin Rail Project involves standardising and increasing the axle loading of the rail freight lines in the north west of the state. This will increase capacity on the rail, open access to more rail operators driving competition in the sector, and give farmers in the Murray Basin access to a deep sea port at Portland. Once completed, the project will provide a major boost to the transport industry, agricultural sectors and regional communities, driving economic growth and creating jobs. It plays an important role in shifting freight off roads and onto rail, improving safety for regional communities.

Upgrading the lines from a 19-tonne axle loading to a 21-tonne axle loading will provide an immediate 15 per cent productivity improvement that will increase train loads by 300 to 400 tonnes, and 500,000 more tonnes of grain will be transported by rail every year. By project completion, Victoria will have 1,130 kilometres of standardised rail gauge and 20,000 fewer truck journeys on the roads between the north-west and Geelong, Melbourne and Portland.

There will be 280 construction jobs created during the project's implementation. A total of 95 per cent of the materials for the Murray Basin Rail Project will be sourced from within Australia, with 90 per cent sourced direct from suppliers in regional Victoria.

The project is being delivered by V/Line under the direction of Public Transport Victoria (PTV). Stage one of the project includes $30 million for maintenance works on the Mildura freight line between Yelta and Maryborough, including the replacement of 3,400 metres of rail and nearly 130,000 sleepers.

More information

For more information and project updates visit the Murray Basin Rail Project website.

Page last updated: 11 January 2017