Avoca railway line
|Status||Freight only line|
|Rolling stock||Ballast, Grain|
|Line length||87.769 km (54.537 mi)|
|Number of tracks||Single track|
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. In October 1966 the line was reopened, and in 1996 it was converted to standard gauge, along with the main Melbourne–Adelaide railway.
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, until many of them were reactivated to carry the 2011–2012 harvest.
The line is to be reopened in 2016 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.
- Keith W. Turton and D.C. McLean (1972). The Maryborough–Avoca–Ararat railway: a brief history. Australian Railway Historical Society (Victorian Division).