Significant Regional Rail Link construction works will be ramped up in the quieter weeks after Christmas.
Federal Minister for Infrastructure and Transport, Anthony Albanese said that good progress has been made on the Regional Rail Link project in the last 12 months, and the upcoming construction works would move the project forward at a rapid pace.
“This project will transform public transport in Melbourne’s west and connect more people to more places and it is exciting to see it taking shape,” Mr Albanese said.
“The Regional Rail Link will create capacity for an extra 23 suburban and 10 regional services at peak traveling times, allowing an extra 54,000 passenger trips each day.
“To create the extra capacity, dedicated regional tracks will see passengers on the Geelong, Bendigo and Ballarat lines avoid congestion with suburban trains.
Victorian Public Transport Minister Terry Mulder said that as well as improving train frequencies, the Regional Rail Link would lay the foundations for future expansion of the rail network to meet the needs of Victoria’s growing population.
“Dedicated regional tracks will be built from West Werribee Junction to Deer Park then alongside the existing tracks from Sunshine to Southern Cross,” Mr Mulder said.
“Passengers on the Geelong, Bendigo and Ballarat lines will have a streamlined journey on their own tracks, rather than being stuck behind suburban trains.
“Importantly, the Victorian Coalition Government has reinstated two proposed grade separation projects at Anderson Road, Sunshine, that were removed from the project’s scope by the former Labor government. We committed to abolishing these two major level crossings. Work is now underway to get rid of them,” Mr Mulder said.
Mr Mulder reiterated that affected commuters would be able to take advantage of free travel on New Year’s Eve.
“Trains on the Sunbury, Ballarat and Bendigo lines will resume form the first trip on 31 December to allow people to use public transport for travel to Melbourne’s CBD and regional cities so they can ring in 2013 with family and friends,” Mr Mulder said.
Major works will be undertaken between Southern Cross Station and Deer Park, including:
- bridge modifications in Footscray and West Melbourne;
- track installation and realignment in Footscray and West Melbourne;
- station upgrade works at Sunshine, West Footscray and Footscray railway stations;
- continued work to remove two level crossings at Anderson Road, Sunshine;
- tunnel strengthening works to support the Dudley Street bridge structure;
- earthworks in Tottenham, Footscray and North Melbourne;
- replacement of track and ballast in Sunshine ;
- rail signal replacements at South Kensington;
- services relocation in Sunshine; and
- over 20 under-track crossings for the Regional Rail Link cable route.
Replacement buses will commence from 8pm Friday 28 December to last service Sunday 30 December 2012 and from 8pm Friday 4 January to last service on Sunday 13 January 2013. Buses will replace trains on sections of the Sunbury line, the Bendigo line between Sunbury and Southern Cross and the Ballarat line while the works are carried out.
Further information on planning your journey during this time is available from Public Transport Victoria at ptv.vic.gov.au or by phoning 1800 800 007 6am – midnight daily.
The Regional Rail Link is jointly funded by the Australian and Victorian governments with the Australian Government contributing $3.225 billion.