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Maroona to Portland Rail Line


The Maroona to Portland rail line is 172km long and connects the western half of Victoria to the national grid and Port of Portland. The deep-sea Port of Portland is considered the best in Regional Victoria. The line links Portland to Ararat and is essential to the wider network.

The track is a timber sleepered line that has deteriorated in last nine years since Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC) took the lease from Victorian State Government.

There are a range of general maintenance and renewal obligations contained in the lease including ensuring all capital works are integrated with the existing rail system and ensuring the rail line is also ‘in a condition which enables ARTC to meet its obligations to its customers.’ In 2008, ARTC said it would spend the money to upgrade the line. This hasn’t occurred to date.

One specific obligation on the Maroona to Portland line is that it be maintained at all times to 19 TAL (tonnage axel load) and speed of 80 km/hr. The line is not currently rated more than 19 TAL and speed is now reduced to 40 km/hr. Neither the TAL or rated speed is consistent with the wider network, which is 23 TAL and 80km/hr or greater.

There is growing demand for mineral sands to be brought from the Horsham and Wimmera area towards the Port of Portland. Road freight is currently the only viable option with the current ARTC level of service on the line.

Impact of current situation:
• Communities impacted by 24 hr/day truck movements (B doubles or bigger).
• Carbon impact via emissions.
• Road infrastructure including pavements and bridges deteriorating. State and Federal Governments have spent $40m since 2017 on roads maintenance in the Green Triangle, largely due to truck damage.
• Financial impact on mineral sands, wheat, other products – on projects with extended life spans of up to and beyond 30 years.


Upgrade the Maroona to Portland line to retain 80km limit at 19 TAL (ie standard it should be at now via lease agreement).

Finalise business case and funding model for upgrading line to 23 TAL in line with rest of ARTC network as per Portland to Maroona line ARTC business case.

Upgrade loading and unloading infrastructure at Port of Portland and at key rail sites within Western Victoria.

The Ask

Funding of approximately $206m would provide a track fully converted to meet modern standards and freight task for 23 TAL and 80km speed.

Priorities Addressed

  • Economic Growth
  • Jobs
  • Environment
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