Murray Basin Rail Project

About the project

The Murray Basin Rail Project will deliver important upgrades to Victoria's rail freight network to meet the increasing demand for freight services.

The Murray Basin Rail Project involves standardising and increasing the axle loading of the rail freight lines servicing the Murray Basin region in Victoria’s north west.

Delivering these transformational upgrades will revitalise the regional freight industry in the Murray Basin region to deliver increasing export volumes to Victoria's ports as cost competitively as possible.

The Victorian Government has committed $220 million to deliver the $440 million project, partnering with the Commonwealth Government to deliver the nationally significant project.

What's happening

Stage one

Stage one works on the Mildura and Hopetoun rail line are complete. These essential works involved installing more than 175,000 sleepers and replacing 3,400 metres of rail across Victoria’s north west.

In March 2016, the Victorian Government awarded a $16.5 million contract to local Geelong manufacturer Austrak, to procure 125,000 concrete sleepers for stage two works, supporting more than 20 jobs at their Port Wilson facility.

Stage two

Stage two works involve the gauge conversion of the rail lines between Yelta and Maryborough and also between Ouyen and Murrayville.

From August 2017, the Maryborough to Yelta and Ouyen to Murrayville rail lines will be shut for five months to transform and standardise these corridors.

Stage two works also include upgrading and reopening the Maryborough to Ararat rail line which has been closed for more than a decade.

The 87 kilometre Maryborough to Ararat rail line passes through the regional towns of Avoca, Elmhurst and Amphitheatre and has over 100 level crossings.

Works to re-open this rail line will including combining and reducing the amount of level crossings to upgrade and make the rail line safer for local communities while ensuring freight trains are able to travel to export points faster, improving efficiency for Victorian producers and industries.

Complementary works include completion of sleeper and rail upgrades on the Hopetoun Line and as part of the tender for Stage two works, standardisation of the Ouyen to Murrayville line.

Stage three

Stage three works involve standardising increasing axle loading on the Manangatang and Sea Lake rail lines.

From March 2018, the Sea Lake and Manangatang rail lines will be shut for five months to transform these corridors.

Project Tender

The tender for the design and construction of stages two and three of the Murray Basin Rail Project has been released to market and is open until Friday 3 February at

Stage two - Works update

From Monday 9 January 2017, grain wagons on the Maryborough to Ararat rail line will be relocated via crane and trucks. Relocation of wagons is expected to be complete by Friday 13 January 2017.

Stage two - Community involvement


Consultation is being undertaken with landowners who have access to level (rail) crossings adjacent to their land.

Landowners are encouraged to contact PTV via 1800 800 007 or email via [email protected] to arrange one-on-one discussions with the project team.

Community information sessions

The community will be kept informed of the project’s progress via this website, newsletters and community information sessions.

Community information sessions on Stage Two Maryborough - Ararat rail line works were held in November and December 2016. The project team sought feedback from the community on proposals to reduce and combine level (rail) crossings along the corridor. 

The project team also sought community feedback on potential opportunities to present rail safety programs to local schools and communities within the Maryborough to Ararat rail corridor to promote the importance of being rail safe.

The project team will be holding further sessions in early 2017 to update the community on the refined approach for Stage Two works. These sessions will be advertised in local papers, local council offices and this website ahead of the sessions.

Feedback closed on 31 December 2016. If you would like to make an enquiry about the project please contact PTV.

Related information

Project documentation

Download the Murray Basin Rail Project Summary brochure (PDF) 524kB

Download the accessible version of the Murray Basin Rail Project brochure (DOC) 2.39 MB

Download the Murray Basin Rail Project Business Case (PDF) 17MB

Download the Murray Basin Rail Project Business Case - accessible version (DOC) 21MB

Media releases

Click on the links below to view media releases relating to the Murray Basin Rail Project

Contact us

If you would like further information about this project, please call PTV on 1800 800 007 or email [email protected].