AUSTRALIA: A A$50m project to improve the efficiency of rail services around the Port of Melbourne was formally launched last month. The state of Victoria is contributing A$23·5m to the project, the national government A$10m and ARTC the remainder. Work is expected to begin in early 2009 for completion in October 2010.

The project includes doubling dual-gauge tracks to permit 1 600 mm and standard gauge operations, a crossover to improve the connection from the main line to Southern Cross station, a dual-gauge link into North Dynon yard, broad gauge access to inland ports east of Melbourne, and renewal of the signalling.

  • ARTC is to lease the Maroona - Portland standard gauge line in Victoria until 2059. In April it signed a lease for the Victorian standard gauge rail network, and agreed that the broad gauge line between Seymour and Albury will be converted to standard gauge, and part of the Albion - Jacana route to dual gauge.