Victorians win fight for regional rail revival

The Victorian Government has secured funding to revive Victoria’s regional rail network.

The Commonwealth have confirmed that they will provide almost $1.5 billion to Victoria under the Asset Recycling Initiative for the Regional Rail Revival program announced as part of the Victorian Budget in May 2017.

The package includes the $516.6 million Ballarat Line Upgrade already underway, with an extra $39 million for stage two of the project which will deliver better services for Ararat and Maryborough.

More than half-a-billion dollars will be invested on the Gippsland Line, creating 400 local jobs with $435 million for major upgrades between Pakenham and Traralgon, and $95 million to replace the Avon River Bridge.

These upgrades will enable more frequent, reliable services between Melbourne and Traralgon, and improve services to Bairnsdale.

Minister for Public Transport, Jacinta Allan, said, “This is a once in a generation investment that will deliver improvements for every regional passenger line in Victoria.

“It will upgrade track, stations and signalling across the state, to run more trains and get people home sooner, wherever they live.”

$110 million will fund the first stage of a massive new Surf Coast Rail Project, which will prepare the corridor for duplication between South Geelong and Waurn Ponds, while work is undertaken to complete the business case for the duplication. The funding will also reserve land for a future line to Torquay.

Further west, $114 million will be pumped into the Warrnambool Line to upgrade track and signalling to enable more services and new VLocity trains to run all the way to Warrnambool.

$140 million will be provided for track, signalling and station improvements on the North East Line, paving the way for better services and the next generation of train for services to Albury.

Passengers in Bendigo and Echuca will also benefit, with $91 million in upgrades to run faster trains, an extra daily service to Echuca, and delivery of Bendigo Metro stage two with more services to Epsom and Eaglehawk.

The package also includes $10 million to plan for an improved freight network in and around Shepparton, and ensure it is not negatively affected by future increases to passenger services on the line.

The package also includes just over $20 million for the $440 million Murray Basin Rail Project.

The funding was owed to Victoria under the Asset Recycling Initiative, following the long term lease of the Port of Melbourne.

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