Fantastic plastic on track

Cesar Melhem and workers inspect the new tracks in Wyndham Vale. Photo: Supplied

By Alesha Capone

More than 100 railway track sleepers made from recycled plastic are being installed at the Wyndham Vale train-stabling yard.

In a first for the V/Line network, the sleepers will become part of stabling tracks for storage of VLocity trains.

The sleepers, also known as Duratrack, are the result of nearly four years of research and product development led by Mildura-based company Integrated Recycling and the Monash Institute of Railway Technology.

The sleepers are made from a mix of polystyrene and agricultural plastic waste by Integrated Recycling.

For every kilometre of track the sleepers are installed, an equivalent 56 tonnes of plastic waste that would otherwise have gone to landfill is recycled.

The state government invested $630,000 through Sustainability Victoria grant programs to make the sleeper project a reality.

Western Metropolitan Region MP Cesar Melhem, who visited Wyndham Vale to inspect the sleepers last week, said that the Duratrack railway sleepers were a “fantastic alternative” to traditional concrete sleepers and had social, environmental and economic benefits.

“It’s exciting to see an innovative and sustainable product being rolled out on Victoria’s regional rail network right here in Wyndham Vale,” he said.

“This project is a great example of how government, industry, universities and rail authorities can work together to create a circular economy.

“Victoria’s transport network is embracing the latest innovation in recycling and waste reduction.”