More than 57,000 sleepers were replaced and 30,000 tonnes of ballast installed over 109 km of network.
The Victorian Department of Transport has announced that the alliance providing the Murray Basin Rail improvements in the North West of the state, comprising Acciona, Coleman Rail and SMEC and supported by Rail Projects Victoria and V/Line , has been awarded a contract for the next work package.
This includes track upgrades on the Ararat – Maryborough line and the Merbein and Donald branch works. Extensive planning, design and industry consultation took place in 2021 in preparation for work on the Ararat – Maryborough line, with work due to be completed by the end of the year.
A modern signaling system will also be installed by V/Line at Ararat Junction to improve safety, efficiency and reduce transit time through the junction, with work in progress.
The alliance recently replaced more than 57,000 sleepers and installed 30,000 tons of ballast on 109 km of line. The overall project includes converting a substantial portion of the state’s rail network from 1,600mm gauge to 1,435mm gauge and upgrading the tracks to handle higher axle loads of 21 tons.
Design and procurement work is also underway for other upgrades, including new loops and passing tracks, improvements at Maryborough and Dunolly Junctions and signage upgrades. The improvements will open 49 rail paths on the Murray Basin network, up from the current 28 paths, and remove approximately 20,000 truck trips from the road.
Network upgrade work was halted in 2019 when the initial budget ran out, but resumed in February 2021 after the Australian Federal Government provided an additional AU$200.2 million ($155.7 million U.S.) for the project, bringing the total cost to A$689 million.