Strong regional momentum

The Murray Basin Rail Project will deliver important upgrades to Victoria´s rail freight network for primary producers and freight operators across the Murray Basin freight network.

Australia’s largest agricultural region will benefit from the Murray Basin Rail Project’s key objective to increase the number of rail paths from 28 to 49, moving more produce by rail to the Ports for the domestic and international market.


The project will drive economic growth, create jobs and provide a major boost to the transport industry, agricultural sector and regional communities.

The Murray Basin Rail Project will deliver key benefits for primary producers and freight operators including increased capacity, improved network reliability and resilience, and reduced journey times.

The project includes:

  • Re-sleepering, adding ballast and adjusting track on the Ouyen to Murrayville Line (complete).
  • Track upgrades from Ararat to Maryborough (complete).
  • New or upgraded sidings at Donald and Merbein (complete).
  • New and extended passing loops.
  • Upgraded signalling at Ararat and Maryborough junctions and the Ouyen yard.
  • New turnouts at Dunolly junction.
  • Re-sleepering from Sea Lake to Dunolly (complete).
  • Planning and assessment work for further upgrades.


  • Location: North Western Victoria including Merbein, Donald, Ouyen, Murrayville, Tourello, Emu and Ararat to Maryborough.
  • Contract type: Alliance comprising ACCIONA, SMEC, V/Line and Rail Projects Victoria.
  • Year of project completion: TBC.
  • Operation & maintenance period: N/A.
  • Project value: AUD $244 Million.


  • The Murray Basin Rail Project will deliver key benefits for primary producers and freight operators across the Murray Basin freight network, and support 1000 direct and indirect jobs during delivery.
  • Upgrades to the Ouyen to Murrayville Line, including re-sleepering, adding ballast and adjusting track, are now complete which has resulted in the removal of speed and heat restrictions that had previously limited use of the line.
  • Track upgrades from Ararat to Maryborough, including re-railing and a passing loop, will increase load capacity to 21 tonne axle loading (TAL) and improve travel times by enabling freight trains to operate at higher speeds.
  • Siding works at the Donald Yard will provide improved operations for freight trains and wagons to be stored when not in use.
  • Extending the siding at Merbein will allow for the stabling of a 1200-metre train off the mainline to help increase capacity for rail freight users in the region.
  • The revised package of works will increase the number of weekly train paths on the Murray Basin network from 28 paths to 49 paths, removing thousands of truck trips from Victorian roads.
  • These works will address key operational issues identified by industry and will deliver more freight paths, reduce journey times and boost network reliability and resilience.
  • The revised program of works has been developed in consultation with industry stakeholders, with their feedback used to inform the project scope and staged delivery of works.
  • The project will increase the capacity, reliability and efficiency of the network, supporting the movement of goods by rail.



  • This project will benefit the rail freight operators and users by delivering more freight paths, reduced journey times and improved network reliability and resilience.



  • In the spirit of reconciliation, the Murray Basin Rail Project acknowledges the Traditional Owners and Custodians of country throughout Australia and their continuing connections to land, river, sea and community. We pay our respect to their Elders, past, present and emerging and extend that respect to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples today.

  • We are an inclusive work place that embraces diversity across our organisation in all its forms.



3 - Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages.

11 - Making cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable.

9 - Build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization and foster innovation.



There is a range of approaches undertaken by MBRP to shift freight towards rail transport rather than road. This results in freight transport that is more sustainable and less carbon intensive. During the project’s construction there have also been activities that have delivered benefits for the environment. This is demonstrated by the example below:


Sustainability results on the Ararat to Maryborough Line

One of the big benefits of upgrading the Ararat to Maryborough Line is reducing the number of trucks on country roads. Reducing our reliance on truck transport was also a focus during construction. The 165 metre strings of rail length for the project was delivered from South Australia through 11 separate freight train trips. This replaced the equivalent of 357 truck trips for the more than 800-kilometre journey each way.   It is estimated that delivery by rail has cut GHG emissions by 76% compared to the emissions generated by trucks. This is just one example of the Murray Basin Rail Project’s environmental and sustainability initiatives.

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