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 east.

Delivering these transformational upgrades will revatilise 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 North Western Victoria.

Stage two

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

Works will also include upgrading and reopening of the Maryborough to Ararat rail line which has been closed for more than a decade.

The reopening of the rail line will provide a connection for freight to the Australian Rail Track Corporation’s interstate line at Ararat, and open up rail connection to the Port of Portland.

A number of level crossings along the Maryborough to Ararat line will be closed as a critical safety measure. Each crossing will be individually assessed against safety criteria.

Vegetation removal will commence in September 2016 in preparation for construction works in July 2017.
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.

A $16.5 million contract has been awarded to local Geelong manufacturer Austrak, to procure 125,000 concrete sleepers - supporting more than 20 jobs at their Port Wilson facility.

Consultation with local communities about re-opening the Maryborough to Ararat railway line has begun.
A local project office will be established at Maryborough Station, with a member of the project team available every Tuesday and Thursday to discuss the project and answer any questions on the project local residents may have.

Stage 3 and 4

Updates and timing on stage three and four of the Murray Basin Rail Project are dependent on funding from the Commonwealth Government being confirmed.

In August 2015 the business case for the project was released and a commitment was made to deliver all 4 stages of work to standardise all rail freight lines servicing the Murray Basin region.

In October 2015 critical maintenance works completed, including 28,000 new sleepers across 70 kilometres of rail line between Ouyen and Carwarp in Victoria's north.

In March 2016, work commenced to laying a further 100,000 sleepers between Maryborough and Yelta, improving safety and reliability of the main freight line straight away, and paving the way for the next stages of the project.

In August 2016, Stage one works on the Mildura freight line completed.

In September 2016, works on stage two commence including vegetation removal and consultation with local councils, landowners, industry and the surrounding communities.

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

Further information

For more information, please call Public Transport Victoria on If you would like further information about this project, please call 1800 800 007 or email [email protected].

You can also contact the project team by completing an online enquiry form.