The freight train which pulled into Echuca yesterday was the first to traverse the newly-renovated Echuca-Toolamba rail line since 2007.By Trent Horneman
To most it would have looked much of the same, but for those in the know there was plenty of excitement as a freight train slowly crept into Echuca yesterday morning.
The train was the first to traverse the newly-renovated Echuca-Toolamba rail line.
The upgrade will allow rice and other grain to be transported from Deniliquin to Victoria’s ports.
Travelling was reduced to 30km/h for the trip, to allow the line to settle after recent works.
About a dozen keen followers stood in a vacant paddock to watch the train cross the Murray Valley Hwy in Echuca’s south.
There was also a keen band of followers watching the train pull into and depart Echuca Railway Station.
Earlier in the day, Victorian Transport Minister Terry Mulder boarded the train as it left Toolamba.
Mr Mulder was proud to re-open the 67km line, which was closed in 2007.
‘‘More than 500,000 tonnes of export rice moved through the Port of Melbourne last financial year. It gives me a great sense of pride to see the first freight train on its way to be loaded with more than 1000 tonnes of export rice,’’ Mr Mulder said.
‘‘Smart, strategic investments like this will enable Victoria to maintain its position as the nation’s largest food and fibre exporting state, with annual exports worth $9 billion.’’
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