Track works will begin in Gheringhap this week as part of the $73 million Mildura rail freight upgrade.
Victorian Minister for Public Transport, Lynne Kosky, and Anthony Albanese, the Commonwealth Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development and Local Government, said the first stage of track works had already been completed in Mildura, and the second stage of works would involve track works between Gheringhap and Ballarat.
The upgrade is a joint project of the Victorian and Federal governments, with $53 million from the State Government and $20 million from the Commonwealth AusLink program.
Mr Albanese said the works will allow freight trains to run at speeds up to 80km/h, reducing travel times between Gheringhap and Mildura from 14 hours to less than ten.
Ms Kosky said the works would involve the installation of new sleepers and ballast and improved drainage along the rail corridor.
“Almost one in every two sleepers along the 525 km line will be replaced, helping to ensure a high-quality freight line for many years to come,” Ms Kosky said.
“As each section of work is completed along the line, we will see progressive improvements in reliability and performance of rail services.”
The works will commence at Gheringhap from next week and will continue along the rail line to Ballarat.
Some level crossing closures will be necessary to undertake the works, and are planned for:
Bannockburn Road 5-6 February
Scanlon Road 7-8 February
Lower Plains Road 9-10 February
Further information on the works and traffic diversions will be provided through local signs and advertisements.
Ms Kosky urged drivers and pedestrians to take care at level crossings along the rail line.
“The local community needs to be aware that there will be work trains in the area.
“Even if motorists aren’t used to seeing trains in the area, when approaching a level crossing they should slow down, obey the signs and be prepared to stop,” Ms Kosky said.
“The Mildura rail freight track upgrade will support the Victorian Government’s target of increasing the share of port related freight transported by rail.”
Works are scheduled for completion in 2009.
For more information about the Mildura Rail Freight Upgrade, visit www.transport.vic.gov.au