Work has begun on the $530 million Gippsland Line Upgrade, which will deliver more frequent, reliable train services for passengers in Victoria’s east.
Minister for Public Transport Jacinta Allan today joined Member for Eastern Victoria Harriet Shing at the Avon River rail bridge in Stratford, where important geotechnical and site investigations are being carried out.
Over the coming months, crews will drill over 50 boreholes and 120 test pits near the bridge and in various locations along the Gippsland line, to better understand ground conditions and soil quality.
The information gathered will inform the design and construction of the project, which includes level crossing upgrades and track duplication to untangle bottlenecks and deliver more reliable and frequent train services. The project will also build additional platforms at Bunyip, Longwarry, Morwell and Traralgon.
Replacing the Avon River Bridge will remove the 10km/h speed limit in this section of track, improving journey times for passengers.
As planning and environmental approvals are likely to take some time, the scope of the project has been expanded to include upgrades to level crossings between Bairnsdale and Sale. This will allow the lighter VLocity trains to run on the Bairnsdale line for the first time to prolong the life of the Avon River Bridge.
The project will establish a main site office in Gippsland – boosting the local economy and creating hundreds of jobs and opportunities for local suppliers. The Gippsland Line Upgrade is part of the $1.57 billion Regional Rail Revival (RRR) package – a joint initiative of the Victorian and Australian governments that will upgrade every regional passenger line in Victoria.
Despite intense negotiations, the Commonwealth Government is yet to release funding for these works.
It’s in addition to the Labor Government’s $9 million Gippsland Rail Corridor Station Upgrade Program, which will deliver accessibility, safety and car parking improvements at Traralgon, Moe, Trafalgar and Morwell stations.
For more information, visit regionalrailrevival.vic.gov.au.
Quotes attributable to Minister for Public Transport Jacinta Allan
“We’re getting things done – delivering the upgrades we need to run new trains and boost services to Gippsland.”
“This is the next step in our Regional Rail Revival which will boost services, jobs and communities across the state.”
Quotes attributable to Member for Eastern Victoria Harriet Shing
“It’s a huge relief for Gippslanders to see work beginning on this vital project, which will progress the long-awaited transformation of train services to communities along the Gippsland line.”
“Locals are thoroughly sick of regional rail funding being withheld while the Commonwealth pours more money into New South Wales and Queensland. We’re determined to make sure they pay their debts to Victoria, and we’re delivering as many improvements on the line as we can while we wait.”
Reviewed 26 June 2020