The Murray Basin Rail Project will undergo a construction blitz to upgrade the Ararat to Maryborough freight line and deliver a half a million maintenance boost for the Maryborough passenger line.

The four-day blitz will remove level crossings, replace sleepers and lay new rail to reopen the Maryborough to Ararat freight lines.

The work also includes reconfiguring track in the Dunolly rail yard to allow standard gauge freight trains from the Mildura Line to connect with the soon-to-be-reopened Maryborough to Ararat line — allowing better access to Victoria’s ports.

Crews from the McConnell Dowell Martinus Rail Joint Venture, who were contracted to deliver the project, will also continue work to replace sleepers and rail, remove level crossings and complete welding in preparation for the line’s reopening in January 2018.

Federal Minister for Infrastructure and Transport, Darren Chester, said the Murray Basin Rail Project will upgrade and convert more than 1000km of track to standard gauge, allowing more produce to be transported via rail.

“This project is in full swing and this blitz signals another important step towards the completion of stage two,” Mr Chester said.

Victorian Minister for Public Transport, Jacinta Allan, said the State Government is getting on with delivering the Murray Basin Rail Project and this work will lead to the reopening of the Maryborough to Ararat Line.

“We’re using this opportunity to conduct critical maintenance work to ensure safe and reliable services for passengers on the Maryborough line,” Ms Allan said.

The signalling systems and level crossing equipment between Creswick and Clunes will be upgraded and track improvement works will be carried out between Ballarat and Clunes. Rail bridges at Havelock and Bet Bet will also be upgraded to maintain safe, reliable freight services.

The Murray Basin Rail Project is jointly funded with the Australian Government providing $240 million and Victorian Government $200 million.

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