Work has begun on replacing 39,000 sleepers on the Rainbow to Dimboola line in Victoria’s North West.
V/Line crews with the support of contractors are conducting the works that are funded through the Victorian government’s Building Works program which sets aside $83 million for regional rail maintenance.
Victorian minister for Ports and Freight Melissa Horne said the works would support freight movements and economic growth in the region.
“This investment will help improve our freight network and ensure we are continuing to support farmers and freight operators at a time when they need it the most,” said Horne.
“We’re continuing to maintain and improve the network, taking extra steps to allow projects like this to continue safely and help keep track workers, suppliers and contractors working.”
In addition to sleeper replacement works, ballast will also be renewed and resurfacing will improve the condition of the track. Scheduling has aimed to minimise the impact on freight services using the line.
Member for Western Victoria Jaala Pulford said the works were essential with a large grain harvest expected this year.
“This upgrade will provide easier and more efficient ways for farmers to transport their goods ahead of what is expected to be a bumper grain harvest,” said Pulford.
“The line has already been put to good use since re-opening in April, and this investment will make it even better.”
The 66km line from Rainbow to Dimboola was reopened in April after a $1m investment to replace 5,000 sleepers. So far, 38 freight services have used the re-opened line, carrying 100,000 tonnes of grain and replacing 5,700 truck movements.
Heavy use of the line has led farmers to previously call for further reopening of freight lines servicing grain growers and other primary producers throughout regional Victoria.