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Murray Basin Freight Rail Project

Funding Program:Investment Road and Rail Program
Status:Under construction
Transport Mode:Rail
Expected Start/Finish:Early 2015 - Late 2023
Estimated Project Cost:$689,000,000
Australian Government Contribution:$440,400,000
Local Council/Shire:Ararat Rural City Council,Ballarat City Council,Buloke Shire Council,Central Goldfields Shire Council,Gannawarra Shire Council,Golden Plains Shire Council,Hepburn Shire Council,Loddon Shire Council,Mildura Rural City Council,Moorabool Shire Council,Northern Grampians Shire Council,Pyrenees Shire Council,Swan Hill Rural City Council,Yarriambiack Shire Council
Corridor:Melbourne - Mildura

Project Description

The project will upgrade rail lines in north-west Victoria.

The Australian Government is providing an additional $195.5 million to the Victorian Government for a further package of works including:

 ·         the re-rail of track between Ararat and Maryborough

 ·         construction of passing loops, and

 ·         other works designed to improve the network’s capacity and travel times.

The Australian Government will also contribute $5 million for further planning work on a 50:50 basis with Victoria, which will develop options to take forward the standardisation the Murray Basin Freight Rail Network. This planning will include options for:

 ·         standardisation of the Sea Lake and Manangatang Lines

 ·         converting the broad gauge line between Maryborough and Gheringhap to dual gauge, and

 ·         options for the separation of freight and passenger rail on the Ballarat rail corridor.

This planning work will take into account the priorities and needs of regional businesses and industries, the freight and logistics sectors, and local communities.


The project will better connect primary producers in north-west Victoria with the ports of Portland, Geelong and Melbourne. The project is expected to improve the productivity and efficiency of freight networks, and to improve road safety by moving freight from road to rail.


The estimated cost of the project is $689.0 million. The Australian Government is contributing $440.4 million and the Victorian Government $248.6 million.


Construction commenced in February 2015 and is expected to be completed by late 2023. The planning work for full standardisation options is expected to be completed by late 2021.


Disclaimer: The material contained in this site is made available on the understanding that the Department is not thereby engaged in rendering professional advice for a particular purpose. Before relying on the material in any important matter, users should carefully evaluate the accuracy, completeness and relevance of the information for their purposes and should obtain appropriate professional advice relevant to their particular circumstances.

Project details last updated: 29/01/2021