Murray Basin gauge-change project nears completion

SINCE 2015, Victoria State rail infrastructure manager V/Line has been leading a programme of gauge conversion for the network of mostly freight lines that serve the Murray Basin region north and west of Melbourne.

In total, 1,130km of route will be converted to standard gauge, or in the case of the Maryborough-Ballarat-Geelong route equipped as dual (1,600mm/1,435mm-gauge) track.

The September broad-gauge farewell train on the Sea Lake line with two ex-Victorian Railways locos T 413 (EMD G8) and H 5 (EMD G18B) seen in the Main Street of Wycheproof, on the Korong Vale to Sea Lake (formerly Mittyack) branch line, on September 16, 2017. DARREN WOOD

Almost all of the upgraded track will be designed for 21-tonne axle loads (an increase from the current maximum 19 tonnes).

The aim of the project, which is costing A$440 million, is to enhance access to the ports of Geelong and Portland, improving transport times for freight and through use of standard gauge track, enabling freight operators from other parts of Australia to compete for the first time.

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