New rail connection in Vic to take more freight off roads

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Crews working on the Port Rail Shuttle Network (PRSN) project have completed laying the track of a new rail connection that enables more efficient transportation of freight from Dandenong South to the Port of Melbourne. 

The connection, dubbed the spur line, will also link the Cranbourne line to a new intermodal freight terminal to be constructed and operated by Salta Properties in late 2022. 

The project seeks to ultimately cut transport costs for suppliers and take thousands of trucks off arterial and suburban roads. 

“The Port Rail Shuttle Network will not only enhance the strategic importance of freight and logistics operators – it will also deliver efficiencies and cost-savings for businesses,” said Federal Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development Catherine King. 

The national government has allocated $38 million in funding for the project while the state of Victoria invested $20 million. 

“The Victorian freight task is growing every year, and we know that rail must and will shoulder more of the heavy lifting to keep our economy thriving,” said Melissa Horne, Victoria’s minister for ports and freight. 

“That’s why we’re investing in projects like the Port Rail Shuttle Network – to enable producers and operators to transport their product quicker and cheaper to port and to market, as well as create jobs and take more trucks off our local roads,” Horne added. 

Rail connections will be established from the Port of Melbourne to major freight hubs in metropolitan Melbourne in the southeast, north, and west. 

The construction of a link to the SCT Logistics terminal in Altona is ongoing while work at the Austrak terminal in Somerton is slated to begin in the later part of 2022. 

A press release from the Victorian government said that once completed, the PRSN initiative will slash truck movements on suburban roads by up to 175,000 trips a year and cut freight transport costs by up to 10 per cent.