The $15 million Melbourne to Adelaide rail freight upgrade has been completed, increasing capacity by up to 20 per cent.

Longer freight trains will soon be able to run between Adelaide and Melbourne, shifting more freight, and boosting efficiency and productivity.

The Melbourne–Adelaide Loops project was delivered by the Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC).

Federal Minister for Infrastructure and Transport, Darren Chester, said the Melbourne to Adelaide Loops project will allow the accommodation of 1,800m trains, improving productivity on the busy line and supporting associated jobs.

“The upgrade will create a 20 per cent increase in productivity for rail operators and remove the need to send additional train services back to Melbourne with empty wagons,” Mr Chester said.

“By investing $15 million in the project, we have created a situation where the maximum length of trains operating from Adelaide to Melbourne can be increased by up to 300m. The longer, more efficient trains means less congestion for motorists and improved road safety, as well as cutting transport costs.

“The initial scope of the project was to deliver five extensions to crossing loops, which provide opportunities for trains heading in opposite directions to pass each other on single line sections of track, but thanks to clever project management, an extra passing loop at Dimboola in regional Western Victoria was also upgraded within the original project budget.”

Mr Chester said Victorian crossing loops at Pyrenees, Murtoa, Pimpinio, Diapur and Dimboola, and South Australia’s Mile End loop, had all been extended to 1,800m.

“A 1,800m train carries the equivalent of more than 85 B-Doubles worth of freight that would typically travel by road through South Australia,” Mr Chester said.

“Moving more freight by rail is crucial to meet the expected doubling of freight demand over the 20 years to 2030 while reducing urban congestion.”

Additional track upgrades currently underway in Adelaide as part of the jointly funded Australian and South Australian Government Torrens Junction Rail Project will provide a clear path for 1,800m trains all the way from Perth to Melbourne by late 2017.

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