A rail link between Mildura and Menindee increasingly looks like becoming a reality.

Story By Nathan Dyer

Estimated to cost between $550 million and $700 million, the project involves standardising the Geelong-Mildura line and building a new link between Mildura and the transcontinental line at Menindee, NSW, a passage known as the Barkindji Corridor after the local Indigenous people. At present, freight trains from Perth and Darwin are dismantled in Adelaide before moving east through the Adelaide Hills to Melbourne. “At the moment you have two-kilometre double-stacked trains being broken down into seven single-stack trains before they can continue their journey into Victoria,” John says.
A 2008 pre-feasibility study by engineering firm GHD found the transcontinental rail link project would improve freight efficiency, provide national defence benefits, and stimulate economic development. Five years on, the transcontinental rail link is listed as a priority project by the Victorian Government and as an early-stage project on Infrastructure Australia’s National Priority List. A review commissioned by the Victorian Government early this year will investigate the future freight demand and infrastructure requirements in the Murray Basin, a region that spreads from Mildura to Broken Hill and takes in Victoria, New South Wales and South Australia.
The government says the Mildura to Menindee link is one infrastructure option it will consider in the review. The next step for the project would be a full feasibility study.

This story excerpt is from Issue #89

Outback Magazine: June/July 2013