$235m work to be­gin

ARTC to be­gin up­grade of North East track in March/April

Euroa Gazette - - FRONT PAGE - By JEFF ZEUSCHNER

SITE works on the $235 mil­lion up­grade of the Al­bury to Mel­bourne rail­way line will be­gin in March/April next year.

The Aus­tralian Rail Track Cor­po­ra­tion (ARTC) yes­ter­day con­firmed the start date af­ter Deputy Prime Min­is­ter Michael McCor­mack an­nounced the Fed­eral Gov­ern­ment has signed off on the scope of works and for­mally ap­proved the fund­ing.

Mak­ing the an­nounce­ment in Al­bury, the Min­is­ter for In­fas­truc­ture, Trans­port and Re­gional Devel­op­ment said the scope of works had un­der­gone mul­ti­ple re­views and been en­dorsed by var­i­ous state and fed­eral agen­cies over the past six month.

He said the works had also been re­viewed by Monash Uni­ver­sity “which con­firmed they will de­liver the track qual­ity the com­mu­nity ex­pect”.

The much an­tic­i­pated project seeks to ad­dress a litany of is­sues which have plagued the North East rail line, which has de­liv­ered be­low par ser­vice re­li­a­bil­ity and punc­tu­al­ity since chang­ing from broad to stan­dard gauge a decade ago.

Min­is­ter McCor­mack said the project will make V/Line ser­vices more re­li­able, jour­neys smoother for cus­tomers and help re­duce the causes of ma­jor de­lays to pas­sen­ger ser­vices.

“It will en­able V/Line to in­tro­duce new, faster and more re­li­able ‘VLoc­ity’ trains ca­pa­ble of speed of up to 130 kilo­me­tres per hour,” he said.

“It will do this by up­grad­ing the line to achieve Vic­to­rian Class 2 per­for­mance stan­dard, which will in turn im­prove the re­li­a­bil­ity and ride qual­ity of pas­sen­ger ser­vices along the lines.

“It is ab­so­lutely crit­i­cal now the com­mit­ments to de­liver on the rolling stock, which are the re­spon­si­bil­ity of the Vic­to­rian Gov­ern­ment, are fol­lowed through with.”

The State Gov­ern­ment has said de­sign of the new rolling stock for the line has com­menced and they will be ready to roll when the rail­way line is com­pleted.

How­ever, Trans­port Min­is­ter Jac­inta Al­lan told the Wan­garatta Chron­i­cle the State Gov­ern­ment hadn’t signed off on the scope of works as yet.

“We want to en­sure that North East line pas­sen­gers are the pri­or­ity as the works are car­ried out,” she said.

An ARTC spokesper­son told the Chron­i­cle that they ex­pected to project to be com­pleted by mid2021.

“From now up un­til site­works be­gins in March/April next year we’ll be fi­nal­is­ing de­signs and pre­par­ing ten­der­ing for some of the smaller work ready to hit the ground,” the spokesper­son said.

He said the scope of works in­cludes the re­build of some sec­tions of track, re­place­ment of bal­last, fix­ing mud­holes and resur­fac­ing bridges.

Cathy McGowan (MHR, Indi) who has lob­bied for im­proved ser­vices since 2013, wel­comed yes­ter­day’s progress.

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