Port of Melbourne rail upgrade is one step closer to reality
The port of Melbourne, in southeastern Australia, is undergoing a major infrastructural upgrade to boost rail freight transportation. The latest development was the opening of the so-called Intermodal Way. This is a new road infrastructure, running between two rail sidings, that will facilitate the movement of containers from road to rail.
The upgrade is part of the Port Rail Transformation Project (PRTP), and its main feature will be a new rail terminal in the heart of the Port of Melbourne. The facility will be equipped with two new sidings that can handle 600-metre-long trains. The Intermodal Way runs along the future location of this structure and is expected to accommodate the uninterrupted movement of containers. Existing tracks will also be upgraded “to allow additional flexibility for trains to move within the port precinct”, as the Port of Melbourne specified.
Most of the goods leaving the Port of Melbourne are currently travelling by road. As the Port explained, the rail is used mainly for regional transport, with “virtually no metropolitan freight currently moved by rail”. This was the main reason for the launch of the PRPT, with a total investment of roughly 115 million euros. However, the Port is ready to increase the use of rail also for short-haul services. The PRPT is, in fact, supporting the Port Rail Shuttle Network, an initiative that aims at decongesting roads in the Melbourne area by shifting transport services to the rail.