The Australia Rail Track Corporation (ARTC) has shortlisted three major construction firms to deliver multi million dollar works for the North East Rail Line Upgrade, marking a milestone for the project.

The shortlisting follows a rigorous expression of interest process, which drew an extremely high standard of responses from local and interstate construction firms.

ARTC General Manager Projects Victoria, Ed Walker, said the project’s largest works package will be awarded to the very best available engineering company and ARTC are now entering a formal Request for Tender phase.

“The works contract is to deliver ballast depth improvements, track resurfacing, drainage upgrades, level crossing and rail bridge upgrades. We expect to award the contract and for main works to start by the end of the year, with project completion in 2021.

The $235 million North East Rail Line Upgrade will bring improved track reliability, smoother journeys and help reduce causes of major delays to passenger services between Melbourne and Albury.

Once complete the works will improve the standard of the rail line to the equivalent of other long-distance regional passenger rail lines in Victoria and bring considerable benefits to rail passengers, local businesses and communities of North East Victoria.

Mr Walker said ARTC is continuing to progress other targeted works along the 316km of track from Spencer St Junction in Melbourne to Albury-Wodonga.

“So far this year over 1900 metres of priority mud holes have been removed, as well as the completion of a 15-day track tamping program. Further mudhole removal works and tamping will be carried out in parallel with the main contract development.

“We’ve also made a start to improving more than 110 level crossings and 120 rail bridges. These works are part of what’s required to meet the class 2 track performance standard and so far eight bridges and nine level crossings have been completed.”

ARTC is calling for feedback on the project and has recently attended farmers markets in Benalla and Avenel to give community members and local stakeholders an opportunity to meet with project teams, ask questions and provide comments on the project.

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