The Maryborough–Avoca–Ararat railway is a railway line in western Victoria, Australia. It is one of the few railway lines in the state to have been closed and then reopened. Today it is a standard gauge branch line connecting the Western SG with Bung Bong (ballast) and Dunolly (grain), running through Maryborough station.


The first section of line was opened as a branch from Maryborough to Avoca in October 1874, 24 kilometres in length, then was extended 62.8 kilometres to Ararat in November 1890, forming a through route between two main lines. In July 1959 the line between Avoca and Ararat was closed.[2] In October 1966 the line was reopened,[2] and in 1996 it was converted to standard gauge, along with the main Melbourne–Adelaide railway.[3]

The Avoca–Ararat section of the line has been unused for a number of years and Pacific National used it to store over 100 surplus grain wagons,[4] until many of them were reactivated to carry the 2011–2012 harvest.


The line is to be reopened (as of 2017) as standard gauge and upgraded to 21-tonne axle loads, with insertion of over 100,000 new concrete sleepers. The second reopening of this cross-country line is primarily to allow for the carriage of mineral sands from Manangatang to a processing plant at Hamilton. The reopening project includes the provision of a direct standard gauge connection between the Avoca and Hamilton lines at Ararat to avoid the need for trains to have to reverse at Ararat.[5][6][7]

It was announced in June 2017 that work will begin to reopen the 87 km line between Maryborough and Ararat.[8]


The Maryborough-to-Ararat rail freight line was officially re-opened at Avoca early in 2018 after more than 13 years of siting idle.[1][9]

See also


  1. ^ a b "Rail freight is back on the Maryborough-Ararat line". The Courier. 13 January 2018. Retrieved 16 July 2018.
  2. ^ a b Sid Brown (March 1990). "Tracks Across the State". Newsrail. Australian Railway Historical Society (Victorian Division). pp. 71–76.
  3. ^ "VICSIG". Retrieved 23 November 2008.
  4. ^ "Grain wagon must return". Weekly Times. Melbourne. 5 March 2011. Archived from the original on 9 March 2011. Retrieved 8 May 2012.
  5. ^ "Murray Basin Rail Project". Public Transport Victoria. 2013. Archived from the original on 4 August 2017. Retrieved 22 June 2017.
  6. ^ Hunt, Peter (26 May 2017). "Rail freight Victoria: Works to cause more delays for grain". The Weekly Times. Retrieved 22 June 2017.
  7. ^ "Murray Basin rail project".
  8. ^ Smith, Keven (27 June 2017). "Murray Basin network upgrade contract awarded". International Rail Journal.
  9. ^

External links

Media related to Avoca railway line at Wikimedia Commons