THE FIRST four Victorian sites on the Inland Rail project are nearing completion, according to a project update.

The Inland Rail company has reported strong progress at the Wangaratta, Glenrowan and Seymour sites, with the Barnawartha North site having been completed.

The company is scheduled to appoint a construction partner for the remaining eight Victorian sites sometime this month, with construction to commence early 2025.

Upon completion, a total of 12 sites in Victoria between Beveridge and Albury will have been worked on to allow for the passage of double-stacked freight trains.

At Wangaratta, the railway station was renovated to improve the station entrance, whereas at Glenrowan the old Beaconsfield Parade Bridge has been replaced with a larger, safer bridge that separates traffic and pedestrians.

Ed Walker, the Inland Rail program delivery director for Beveridge to Albury, recently spoke on the project’s progress at the Victorian Transport Infrastructure Conference.

“There are always challenges on projects of this size, but the project is progressing well in Victoria. We have the complexity of working around an active train line so scheduling large, detailed work programs around two or three track closures per-year is critically important,” he said.

“With much of the work taking place in regional towns that have not faced construction sites of this size before, it is essential to bring the bring the community on the journey with us.”

“We thank the local communities for their patience and understanding.”

The 1600-kilometre Inland Rail project intends to provide a faster, more efficient, and more cost-effective method of moving freight between Brisbane and Melbourne.

According to the Australian Government, 70% of the project will involve upgrading existing infrastructure.

While various dates have been mentioned for completion of the Inland Rail project, Inland Rail hopes to complete all sections south of Parkes, New South Wales in 2027.