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THE controversial Murray Basin rail upgrade is finally gathering some speed.
Upgrading and standardising of the Manangatang and Sea Lake rail lines expected to be started by mid year.
“The Ballarat rail separation is being done and we’re trying to get work started on the Manangatang and Sea Lake lines by July,” said Rail Freight Advisory Council chairman Peter Tuohey said.
“We’re hoping to get the lines completed by December, in time for harvest.”
Mr Tuohey’s optimistic outlook follows a series of V/Line management bungles on delivering the $440 million Murray Basin rail upgrades, which forced the deferral of work on the Sea Lake and Manangatang broad-gauged rail freight lines.
At the time rail engineers reported the project had been poorly managed from the start, by both the Government’s own transport department staff and V/Line managers.
The Government is hesitant to lock in a date for work to start on the two northwest lines, simply confirming the Advisory Council had put forward a start date of July, which was yet to be confirmed.
Transport Minister Jacinta Allan’s spokesman said: “we continue to work with industry to determine the best time frame and staging for delivery, to minimise impacts during harvest and ensure producers can get their product to port”.
“Stage two works are now complete, including the upgrade of Ararat Junction, which is saving freight trains up to three hours of travel time on the Maryborough to Ararat line.”
This article first appeared on www.weeklytimesnow.com.au
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