Maroona-Portland Rail Funding Boost For Wimmera Roads

The Federal Government’s $150 million budget commitment to fix the Maroona to Portland rail line is “very good news” for the Wimmera, according to Horsham Rural City Council Mayor Robyn Gulline.

Once a busy corridor for the movement of Wimmera grain to the Port of Portland, the line has not been substantially upgraded since being leased to the Australian Rail Track Corporation in the early 2000s.

Permitted speed on the line is limited to 40kph, making rail freight inefficient compared to B-double trucks.

But the upgrade, to start in the 2026/27 financial year, will enable heavier axle limits for trains and lift the speed limit to 80kph.

Cr Gulline said restoring the line was crucial for the Wimmera in several ways.

“Upgrading this key section of the Ararat-Portland line will enable more competitive freight options for grain and mineral sands to be transported to the port of Portland.

“Here in the Wimmera, we have an intermodal freight terminal that links us with Melbourne and Geelong, regaining our rail link with Portland, Victoria’s only naturally deep-water port, would make Horsham and the Wimmera even more enticing for industries to invest in,” she said.

“It will also see a drastic reduction in the amount of trucks travelling to the port from the Wimmera, both now and especially in the future.

“So many of these trucks currently travel right through the heart of Horsham, reducing the amenity of our city placing costly strain on our key regional roads such as the Henty Highway. Reducing the amount of trucks will also have a positive impact on carbon emissions.

“With four of the world’s largest sand-mining projects planned within a 70-kilometre radius of Horsham, for the Wimmera there is a lot riding on this upgrade.

“Horsham Rural City Council has long advocated for this upgrade. This is very good news for our region,” Cr Gulline said.

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