The newly refurbished Echuca-Toolamba rail line will re-open on Thursday, with the first train set to roll into Echuca at 10.30am.By Trent Horneman
The seemingly mundane clattering of a freight train into Echuca on Thursday will be music to the ears of the Victorian Government and the region’s farmers.
The train, set to arrive at 10.30am, is the first on the newly refurbished Echuca-Toolamba rail line.
A partnership between the government and SunRice allowed the $7.1
Transport Minister Terry Mulder said the project allowed the line between Echuca and Toolamba to be converted to broad gauge track.
‘‘Growing freight on rail is a priority for the Victorian Government and re-opening this line will help to increase rail freight transport efficiency and reduce road congestion,’’ Mr Mulder said.
‘‘Re-opening the branch line between Echuca and Toolamba will provide a more efficient link to the Port of Melbourne for SunRice and other exporters moving freight from the Goulburn Valley and southern NSW.
‘‘It will provide an alternative route for freight to the busy Bendigo to Melbourne passenger line where freight services currently have to compete for access with passenger services.’’
Member for Rodney Paul Weller said it was a major boost for the local economy.
‘‘Re-opening of the freight line from Echuca to Toolamba is very exciting news for the crop farmers and export industries in the Rodney electorate,’’ Mr Weller said.
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