Aug 27, 2009

Construction starts on the $4.3 billion Regional Rail Link

Construction starts on the $4.3 billion Regional Rail Link

The Hon Anthony Albanese MP

The Minister for Infrastructure, Transport,

Regional Development and Local Government

Leader of the House

Member for Grayndler

August 27 2009

The $4.3 billion Regional Rail Link project has marked a major milestone with the beginning of construction to commission platforms 15 and 16 at Melbourne’s Southern Cross Station.

Victorian Premier John Brumby and Federal Infrastructure and Transport Minister Anthony Albanese were joined by Victorian Public Transport Minister Lynne Kosky at the station to mark the start of works.

“Today’s announcement is another important step towards this vital infrastructure project, the largest improvement to our rail network since the City Loop,” Mr Brumby said.

“Regional Rail Link will benefit thousands of train passengers and for the first time separate our regional and metropolitan train networks allowing for additional services and improved reliability.”

Mr Albanese said that the Rudd Government was providing $3.2 billion, more than three-quarters of the funding for the Regional Rail Link.

“The Regional Rail Link is the largest public transport infrastructure project in Australia and will support up to 2800 direct jobs in construction,” Mr Albanese said.

“The Rudd and Brumby Labor Governments are working together on this nation-building project to create jobs during the current global recession by building the infrastructure we need for the future.

“The initial works at platforms 15 and 16 of Southern Cross Station are an important first step in delivering this project on time and as soon as possible.

“The project will create up to 50 kilometres of new track between West Werribee and Southern Cross Station.

“We are determined to deliver this vital public transport project as quickly as possible, with further construction scheduled to start next year.”

Works start today on the supporting structure for the extension of platforms 15 and 16, necessary before major construction can start on the new rail link next year.

Mr Brumby said the Regional Rail Link project would stimulate the Victorian economy and create both direct and indirect jobs during construction.

“Regional Rail Link is Victoria’s highest priority infrastructure project that will improve reliability for Geelong, Ballarat and Bendigo V/Line services and free up capacity for more trains on the Werribee, Craigieburn and Sunbury (Sydenham) lines,” Mr Brumby said.

“Once completed, this project will help Victorians get to and from work more efficiently every day, so they can spend more time with their families.”

Ms Kosky said Regional Rail Link would provide for additional capacity on regional lines and allow for more peak services on the suburban network, particularly on lines running from Melbourne’s north.

“Once complete, the suburban and regional rail networks will operate independently of one another reducing congestion on the system and improving the ride for thousands of passengers,” Ms Kosky said.

“The extension of platforms 15 and 16 is part of a $35 million program of works at Southern Cross Station including installation of lifts, escalators, systems, platform canopy, finishes and furniture and is expected to continue through to the end of 2010.

These initial works at Southern Cross Station’s platforms 15 and 16 will create approximately 60 jobs over the next 12 months.”

The exact alignment of Regional Rail Link is being finalised following a month long period of community consultation.