Maryborough - Avoca originally opened 1876 and cost $ 74,000 ruling grade 1 in 43
Avoca - Ararat opened 1890 at a cost of $ 260,550 Ruling grade 1 in 50
Along the whole line the major bridges are at Bet Bet Creek at Bung Bong, then just beyond Avoca at the Avoca River, over the Wimmera River at Elmshurst, and Mount Cole Creek at Ben Nevis .
The last through rail motor service Maryborough - Ararat operated in the early 1950's .
The line was closed between Ararat and Avoca on 08/07/1959, but re-opened for Portland grain traffic in late 1966 at a cost of $ 130,000 .including an intermediate crossing loop at Elmshurst .
Maryborough - Ararat was standardized in 1995, but was little used and the track has been booked out for some years. The connection at Maryborough towards Avoca was actually removed recently albeit the line is to be re-opened !!!!
The line is now to be re opened primarily for mineral sands traffic from Manangatang to Hamilton with 21 tonne axle loads. The project involves clearing vegetation, clearing drainage, continuously welding the track allowing 21tonne axle loads with an 80kmh line speed , insertion of a minimum 27,100 concrete sleepers, ballast top up, re-commissioning flashing light protection at 6 level crossings . Restoration of the junction at Maryborough is to cost $ 1.5m and a new direct connection is to be provided at Ararat from the Avoca line to the Maroona line (across the bg line from Ballarat ) at a cost of $ 7.5m involving a new track alignment and new track construction . Total project cost is $ 64m !!!!
Materials are to be procured March 16 to April 17 and actual construction/conversion will be March to June 2017 .
(Sources- K.W.Turton ARHS The Avoca - Ararat Railway & Murray Basin Upgrade Business Case.)