$235m work to begin
ARTC to begin upgrade of North East track in March/April
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.