A new $130 million State Government rail infrastructure project is set to “pave the way” for more freight and passenger services to Maryborough and allow the return of passenger trains to Dunolly.
Minister for Public Transport Jacinta Allan visited Maryborough on Wednesday to announce the new Freight Passenger Rail Separation Project, designed to create more reliable, frequent and on-time passenger services to Maryborough and unlock the “bottleneck” around Ballarat Station.
The project will include convert- ing the existing broad-gauge track between Ballarat and Maryborough to dual gauge, retain the dual-gauge connection between Maryborough and Dunolly to allow future passenger rail to Dunolly, and will untangle the congested rail network through the Ballarat Station precinct, creating separate paths for passenger and freight lines, including Maryborough services.
“We’ve listened to the Maryborough passengers and the community, and we’re working hard to ensure they get the transport services they deserve,” Ms Allan said.
“We delivered extra services to Maryborough last year and there is more for passengers to look forward to as we deliver the infrastructure to pave the way for more services.”
According to Ms Allan, trains on the Maryborough to Ararat line are currently running at 25 km/h, which will be lifted to 40 km/h at the end of August once level crossing works have been completed, and more improvements are set to come with the completion of the rail separation project.
The project also looks likely to have an impact on the Murray Basin Rail Project which has fallen under heavy criticism in the past months from the opposition, who claim stage three works on the project, set to begin in March this year, have come to a halt.
Ms Allan has denied claims works have halted on the project but this week acknowledged there were some “challenges” in delivering the Murray Basin project and said the State Government is currently working with the freight industry on how to best deliver the project in conjunction with the new rail separation project.
For more on this story see the Front Page of The Advertiser, Friday, July 6