A newly-completed, multi-million-dollar upgrade of the Adelaide to Melbourne rail corridor will allow for longer freight trains, increasing capacity by up to 20%, federal transport minister Darren Chester said.
Six new crossing loops were delivered under the $15 million upgrade of the line, which Chester and the Australian Rail Track Corporation announced complete on September 22.
The upgrade should allow the accommodation of 1,800-metre trains, improving productivity on the line and supporting associated jobs.
“The upgrade will create a 20% increase in productivity for rail operators and remove the need to send additional train services back to Melbourne with empty wagons,” 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 300 metres 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.”
Chester said Victorian crossing loops at Pyrenees, Murtoa, Pimpinio, Diapur and Dimboola, and South Australia’s Mile End loop, had all been extended to 1,800 metres.
“A 1,800-metre train carries the equivalent of more than 85 B-Doubles worth of freight that would typically travel by road through South Australia,” he 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 are currently underway in Adelaide as part of the jointly funded Australian and South Australian Government Torrens Junction Rail Project, which will provide a clear path for 1,800-metre trains all the way from Perth to Melbourne by late 2017.