Contractors appointed for Murray Basin-Victoria freight line upgrade

Credit: McConnell Dowell.
Credit: McConnell Dowell.
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A joint venture between McConnell Dowell and Martinus Rail has been appointed by freight operator V/Line to deliver stages 2, 3 and 4 of the Murray Basin Rail Project in Australia.

Work is expected to begin within weeks to standardise and upgrade the 1,055 kilometre freight track connecting the Murray Basin region in Victoria’s north-west to the state’s major ports of Portland, Geelong and Melbourne.

V/Line said that the project will drive economic growth, create jobs and provide a major boost to the transport industry, agricultural sector and regional communities.

By standardising and improving the rail network, freight services in the region will be able to deliver exports to Victoria’s ports in a more efficient and cost-competitive way.

An increased axle loading from 19 to 21 tonnes will also allow higher volumes of product to be safely transported across the network.

Once work is complete, V/Line said the line is expected to reduce the number of truck journeys carrying goods by 20,000.

The Victorian and Australian governments will jointly fund the $440 million scheme, which will employ more than 400 personnel at the project’s peak.

Stage 2 of the awarded work covers the Maryborough to Yelta, Ouyen to Murrayville, and Maryborough to Ararat section; Stage 3 the Dunolly to Manangatang, and Korong Vale to Sea Lake section; and Stage 4 the Gheringhap to Warrenheip section.

Practical competition is expected for August, 2018.

Jim Frith, managing director of McConnell Dowell Australia, said: “We are ready to maximise the benefits of this substantial investment in Victoria’s rail network, and deliver a safer, more productive rail freight network for V/Line and the people of Victoria.

“Generating local jobs and spending locally will be a key focus of our team and we will be recruiting at least 15 per cent of our workforce from the Murray Basin region.”

Read more: Contractor appointed for second phase of Sydney Metro tunnelling