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MARYBOROUGH will be at the heart of a $440 million project to improve Victoria’s rail freight network.
The main office for the second, third and fourth stages of the Murray Basin Rail Project will be established in the town, after the McConnell Dowell Martinus Rail joint venture was on Monday announced as the successful tenderer.
Works are expected to be underway within weeks.
Victorian Acting Minister for Public Transport, Luke Donnellan, said the project would create more than 400 jobs at peak construction,
“With at least 15 per cent of this workforce being recruited from the Murray Basin region,” he said.
"This huge project will make it easier for primary producers to get their goods to market -- boosting exports, supporting local jobs and growing our regional economy.”
The Maryborough to Yelta and Ouyen to Murrayville sections will be temporarily closed while upgrades are underway.
Work to reopen the 87-kilometre rail line between Maryborough and Ararat starts next month, while efforts to standardise the Mildura rail line and Ouyen to Murrayville line are scheduled for in August.
More than 1000 kilometres of the state’s rail freight network will be revitalised as part of the initiative.
The track will be standardised and upgraded from broad to standard gauge, and axle loading will be increased from 19 to 21 tonnes on the network apart from Ouyen to Murrayville.
“Once the Murray Basin Rail Project is completed, trains on the freight network will be able to carry more product, more often,” Federal Minister for Infrastructure and Transport Darren Chester said.
“There will be huge benefits to the Australian economy, with the project supporting an increase in competition between the three ports and operators of freight trains and increasing export volumes to overseas markets.”
In addition to the main office in Maryborough, sites will be established in Dunolly, Ararat, Ballarat, Ouyen and Mildura.
The Mildura and Hopetoun lines were the focus of the project’s first stage, which was completed last year.
This article first appeared on www.bendigoadvertiser.com.au
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