The restoration of 41 kilometres of train track between Eaglehawk and Inglewood could give grain trains a second route to and from north west Victoria.
Advocacy group the Rail Futures Institute is urging the state government to complete the project ahead of the winter grain harvest to allow broad gauge grain trains from the Korong Vale group that use the Sea Lake and Manangatang lines a second route to Melbourne or Geelong via Inglewood, Eaglehawk and Bendigo.
"In offering a second option for Korong Vale group grain trains to go south, the number of broad gauge trains proceeding via Dunolly and Maryborough can be reduced," Rail Futures president John Hearsch said.
"(It will) release more train paths for standard gauge trains from the Mildura and Murrayville lines which can only reach Geelong, Portland or Melbourne via Ararat and so must travel through Maryborough."
Mr Hearsch said the project would mainly involve replacing sleepers, repairing flood damage from 2007 and 2011 and reactivation of the rail junctions at Inglewood and Eaglehawk. As well as freight facilities, the train track could also offer potential extension of some V/Line Bendigo passenger services beyond Eaglehawk.
"We are urging a fast allocation of funding so that these labour-intensive works can be actioned between July and October of this year so that this important freight link can again be made available to handle the forecast bumper grain harvest from November 2020," he said.