WORK has started on a $10 million upgrade of the rail freight line between Murtoa, Warracknabeal and Hopetoun.
The update is part of the first stage for the Murray Basin Rail Project.
Public Transport and Roads Minister Terry Mulder said the State Government re-opened the Dimboola to Rainbow line as part of a partnership with GrainCorp.
"Murtoa to Hopetoun will receive part of the initial $40 million for the Hopetoun and Mildura lines announced in the 2014-15 state budget," he said.
"This exciting, visionary $180 to $220 million Murray Basin Rail Project includes gauge standardisation of the Mildura line and will proceed further once a business case is completed by the end of 2014."
Nationals candidate for Lowan Emma Kealy said V/Line staff would replace more than 50,000 timber sleepers along the 112-kilometre section of track during the next three months.
"Up to 50 workers will be on site each day to ensure the project remains on schedule," she said.
Mr Mulder said the track upgrade would allow temporary train speed restrictions to be lifted.
"Freight trains have had to slow to 20 kilometres an hour along some sections of the track," he said.
"The track works mean that freight trains will soon be able to travel at line speeds of up to 65 kilometres an hour."
Mineral sands company Iluka Resources operates trains along the line each weekday, moving product from Hopetoun to its plant near Hamilton.
Replacing sleepers will occur between trains so thgroupe mineral sands trains can continue to operate.
Member for Lowan Hugh Delahunty said he was pleased to see ongoing investment in the Wimmera's railways.
"This will be V/Line's last major sleeper replacement project for the Wimmera this year," he said.
"It includes some level crossing improvements and will be completed in good time for the 2014-15 grain harvest."