Labor government’s Regional Rail Revival continues

The Andrews Labor Government is continuing its record investment in regional public transport to create jobs, connect communities, and deliver public transport that Victorians can count on, wherever they live.

The Victorian Budget 2017/18 builds on a record investment in regional rail last year, and includes the $1.45 billion Regional Rail Revival package of major upgrades across regional Victoria and more than 1 000 jobs.

The Labor Government’s Regional Rail Revival package includes the $435 million Gippsland Line Upgrade, which will create a more frequent and reliable Gippsland Line and create hundreds of new jobs.

To get started on regional Victoria’s next rail line, $110 million will kick-start the new Surf Coast Rail Upgrade, including work towards track duplication at Waurn Ponds, and reserving land for a new spur line to Torquay.

The Warrnambool Line will benefit from $100 million in upgrades to run more services, and $91 million will benefit passengers in Bendigo and Echuca with faster trains, an extra daily service to Echuca, and delivery of Bendigo Metro Stage 2.

More upgrades will also take place on the Ballarat Line to Ararat, the Avon River Bridge on the Gippsland Line, and the North East Line, where we will start work to run new trains.

This massive package on major lines across Victoria will be funded from Victoria’s full $1.46 billion entitlement under the agreement on Asset Recycling signed by the Commonwealth Government in 2014.

On top of the Regional Rail Revival package, $43.5 million in this year’s Budget will build new stabling and an extra passing loop to run more trains to Shepparton from 2020, and run extra coach services in the meantime.

To give regional Victoria the best trains, the Budget provides $311.1 million for 39 new VLocity carriages, building on the 48 we’ve already funded – all of them built in Victoria. This investment will also fund a major re-design of VLocity trains, to enable them to run on long-haul services, including on the North East Line.

The Budget includes $12.5 million to refurbish V/Line’s classic train fleet, to ensure they remain safe, reliable and comfortable for passengers.

To improve reliability of the whole network, $316.4 million will go to replacing sleepers, fixing tracks and delivering the nuts-and-bolts work needed to keep the system working properly.

Almost $10 million will fund the package of level crossing upgrades already underway on the Warrnambool Line to boost safety and restore services to timetable following the horror crash at Pirron Yallock in July last year.

The Budget will also boost bus services in regional Victoria and fund more than 100 new car parks and a new bus interchange as part of the Ballarat Station Precinct upgrade.

Quotes attributable to Minister for Public Transport Jacinta Allan

“This huge public transport Budget continues our revival of Victoria’s regional rail network.”

“We’re rebuilding the V/Line network after years of cuts and neglect from the former Liberal and National Government.”

“Labor is getting on with the job of delivering public transport you can count on, wherever you live.”