The Victorian Government has awarded the alliance comprising Acciona, Coleman Rail and SMEC, supported by Rail Projects Victoria and V/Line, an improvement work package contract for the Murray Basin Rail project.
The works to be performed by the alliance cover Merbein and Donald siding works and track upgrades on the Ararat – Maryborough line which will be completed by the end of 2022.
A modern signalling system will also be installed by V/Line at Ararat junction to improve safety, efficiency and reduce transit time through the junction, with works now underway.
By now the alliance replaced 57,000 sleepers and installed 30,000 tonnes of ballast on 109 km of the line and further works are expected to be completed by mid-2022 removing most of the speed and heat restrictions which have limited use of the line.
Design work and procurement is also underway on further upgrades, including new crossing loops and sidings, improvements to Maryborough and Dunolly junctions and signalling upgrades.
The revised scope of works for the Murray Basin Rail project is being delivered with an additional AUD 195.2 million (USD 140 million) investment from the Australian Government and AUD 48.8 million (USD 35 million) from the Victorian Government.
Works will enable 49 train paths on the Murray Basin network, up from the current 28 paths, and it is estimated to remove around 20,000 truck trips off the road.
The Murray Basin Rail project will deliver important upgrades to Victoria’s rail freight network to meet increasing demand for freight services. The project includes re-sleepering, adding ballast and track adjustment on the Ouyen to Murrayville Line, track upgrades from Ararat to Maryborough, new or upgraded sidings at Donald and Merbein, new and extended passing loops, as well as signalling upgrade.
The AUD 689 million (USD 494.6 million) project started in 2015 and it is expected to be completed in 2023.