THE AUSTRALIAN Rail Track Corporation is suspending freight services on the Melbourne to Adelaide line while it carries out rail maintenance and improvement works.

The three-day “maintenance possession” of the line, beginning 19 August, will involve 30 separate maintenance activities worth more than $8 million.

ARTC said the Melbourne to Adelaide line is one of two critical rail lines connecting the east and west coasts of Australia.

It is closing the line to replace 14 kilometres of rail, remove 500 metres of mudholes, clear dangerous trees near the track, upgrade the Queen Street subway structure in Ararat and do geotechnical work in the Adelaide Hills.

Costas Kokkoni, ARTC general manager – asset maintenance services, said the ARTC is investing in the Melbourne to Adelaide line to make it more resilient for freight customers and passengers.

“ARTC has made every effort to minimise disruption to services and we thank the community for its patience while these critical infrastructure improvements are underway,” he said.

Works will begin at 0900 on 19 August and end at 1800 on 21 August (Victoria) and at 0200 on 22 August (South Australia).