A record-breaking trial run for the longest intermodal freight train will pave the way for regular, more efficient services between Merbein and the Port of Melbourne.

Freight train in Melbourne Australia

The 1500 metre container train operated by Pacific National was hauled by three locomotives pulling 86 wagons. This longer, heavier train can haul approximately 4000 tonnes of freight without needing extra locomotives and train crews.

Longer trains will operate during peak seasons to move higher volumes of produce such as table grapes and citrus from the Sunraysia Region.

The extra freight capacity will provide cost savings for operators, producers and farmers without the need to run an additional service.

Regional communities will benefit from the Victorian State Government’s $181 million investment in the Murray Basin Rail Project for critical maintenance on the regional rail network through the 2022/23 Victorian Budget.

Each year the train known as the “Fruity’’ carries approximately $450 million worth of horticultural produce on three return-services weekly from Merbein near Mildura to the Port of Melbourne.

Trains are also shifting export grain from Yelta, north-west of Mildura, for the first time in four years.

Major upgrades on the Mildura freight line, including upcoming works on a mobile refuelling facility and signalling upgrades at Ouyen yard and an extension to the passing loop at Emu, are being delivered by Rail Projects Victoria as part of the Murray Basin Rail Project.

The project is delivering key benefits for primary producers and freight operators including increased capacity, improved network reliability and resilience, and reduced journey times.

The record-breaking service is thanks to a partnership between V/Line, freight operator Pacific National and freight forwarder Seaway Intermodal whose services are benefitting from a more resilient network with longer sidings, upgraded track and higher axle-loads.

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