Ministerial Press Release:
Ambleside passing loop upgrade completed

Another major section of the nation’s Interstate Rail Freight Network has been modernised with the extension and upgrade of the last of 7 passing loops between Adelaide and Melbourne now completed.

Federal Infrastructure and Transport Minister Anthony Albanese said with the commissioning of the new, extended passing loop at Ambleside in the Adelaide Hills this section of the Interstate Rail Freight Network is now able to carry bigger, longer trains and pass each other with minimal delay.

“Funded as part of our recession-busting Economic Stimulus Plan, the $74 million investment we have made in the Melbourne to Adelaide section means it can accommodate trains of up to 1,800 metres in length, with each able to carry more freight than 100 trucks,” said Mr Albanese.

“Nationwide, this Federal Labor Government is rebuilding more than a third of the 10,000 kilometre Interstate Rail Freight Network, a multi-billion dollar capital works program which is lifting its efficiency, improving its reliability and reducing transit times.

“For example, average transit times between Brisbane and Melbourne are on track to be seven hours shorter than they were in 2005.”

Around 80 trains a week use the Melbourne to Adelaide section of the Network – a number that’s set for growth in the years ahead.

ARTC CEO John Fullerton said the completion of the Ambleside passing loop is a major milestone in the ongoing upgrade of the East-West corridor and will help make rail an even more competitive proposition for moving freight.

“The new passing loop will assist in supporting the projected growth in freight volumes of around 4 per cent annually as well as in maintaining reliable transit times along the East-West corridor,” said Mr Fullerton.

A number of local improvement works were also completed as part of the project, including:

  • A new access track for local emergency services;
  • A landscaped mound, constructed at the request of local residents to improve visual amenity and offer additional noise attenuation; and
  • Restoration and stabilising works to the Grunthal Mine Chimney, a site with local heritage significance.

The Ambleside project was delivered by the ARTC in partnership with Transfield Services Ltd.

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