The Government of Victoria in Australia has announced that new sleepers are being installed between Maryborough and Mildura as part of its A$416m ($319m) Murray Basin rail project (MBRP).
The project is designed to upgrade and standardise the entire Murray Basin freight network and better connect primary producers to the state’s major ports in Portland, Geelong and Melbourne.
The broad gauge sleepers being laid in Maryborough will make the main freight line safer and more reliable, as well as pave the way for the next phase of the project.
It is reported the wooden sleepers, which can be easily converted to standard gauge, will reduce the time the Mildura line will be closed during stage two of the project, when Murray Basin freight network is standardised.
A total of 100,000 sleepers will be laid between Maryborough and Mildura under the project, of which 30,000 have already been installed.
Victoria Minister for Agriculture and Regional Development Jaala Pulford said: "The sleepers being laid today will improve safety and reliability of the main freight line straight away, and pave the way for the next phase of this critical project, the upgrade and standardisation of the entire Murray Basin freight network.
"The Murray Basin rail project will enable primary producers across north western Victoria to get more produce to port, more efficiently, boosting jobs and the regional economy.
"The Andrews Labour government has put $220m towards this project, and is calling again on the federal government to pay their fair share.
"They have had the business case for the project for more than six months and it is time for them to support farmers, their families and our economy, and commit this vital project."
The project received up to A$220m in the 2015-2016 Victorian budget and A$5m was fast-tracked in February last year to get work started on critical maintenance and safety works.