The plan to re-open the railway line between Maryborough to Ararat, Victoria, is underway, beginning with consultation with local communities.

The line has been disused for more than a decade, but will reopen as part of the Victorian Government’s upgrade of the freight network in north western Victoria.

The Maryborough to Ararat rail line is being reopened as part of the Murray Basin Rail Project, which will boost the safety, capacity and reliability of freight services in Northern Victoria and better connect primary producers to the state’s major ports.

The project will standardise the entire Murray Basin freight network and increase the loads it can carry, allowing larger trains to move more product with each trip.

Victorian Minister for Public Transport, Jacinta Allan, said, “This is an important step in this critical project, which will allow primary producers to get more produce to port, more efficiently – boosting jobs and the regional economy.

“Reopening the line will be a big change for people between Maryborough and Ararat, and we will be working closely with them to close or  upgrade level crossings, and keep these communities safe when trains return.”

More than 100 level crossings on the line have been individually assessed for safety, traffic volume and availability of alternate routes nearby.

These factors will be considered along with feedback from residents and other stakeholders, to determine which crossings will be closed or upgraded to keep motorists and local communities safe when trains return.

Land owners on the Maryborough to Ararat line will receive letters detailing the outcome of the assessments of crossings on their property, and inviting them to meet with the project team.

Consultation with communities along the railway line will commence in November 2016, after the completion of the local government election caretaker period.

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