Work has started on the $530 million Gippsland Line Upgrade, which will deliver more frequent, reliable train services for passengers in Victoria’s east.

Over the coming months, crews will drill over 50 boreholes and 120 test pits near the rail bridge in Stratford, 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 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 Victorian 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.

“This is the next step in our Regional Rail Revival which will boost services, jobs and communities across the state,” Minister for Public Transport, Jacinta Allan said.

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