As part of the State’s economic response to the recent pandemic, the Victorian Government is investing $126 million to deliver better freight and passenger rail services in regional Victoria as well as create jobs and boost economic activity.
“We’re building on our unprecedented investment in regional rail, and this maintenance blitz will be a boost for local jobs and keep Victoria moving as we recover from the coronavirus crisis.
“This investment will help to improve our regional rail network and ensure we provide services passengers can rely on,” Minister for Public Transport Ben Carroll said.
This significant investment includes an $83 million freight improvement package that will involve replacing sleepers, repairing ballasts and renewing level crossing equipment along about 400 kilometres of freight-only rail lines.
These works will provide more viable freight options for regional growers and exporters and will help local farmers access key domestic and international markets while transport continue to shift from road to rail.
The rail investment also includes $35 million to maintain the V/Line Classic Fleet, supporting local jobs in Bendigo and Melbourne. The works are going to be undertaken by Bombardier and will require more than 20 new workers – including engineers, repair workers and cleaners.
Lastly, $7.5 million will be spent to improve tracks across the regional passenger network. This will enable more reliable services from Deer Park Junction to Ballarat, from Ballarat to Ararat, from Donnybrook to Seymour, from Corio to Waurn Ponds and the Bendigo East Track.
“These investments in our rail freight network are part of our ongoing commitment to boost our export power and support regional jobs.
“The upgrades will mean produce can be transported from farm to port much more quickly, opening key markets to Victorian farmers,” Minister for Ports and Freight Melissa Horne said.
All these rail works are part of the State Government’s $328 million investment in freight, public transport and roads upgrades that will generate as well as support more than 600 jobs.
The State Government is investing over $2.7 billion as part of the Building Works package that will help kickstart the economy and support jobs through the pandemic.