The Andrews Labor government is continuing its quest to boost regional Victoria’s transport system, having just announced $43.5 million in budget funding towards upgrades to the Shepparton line and new coach services.
The funds will provide Shepparton with new train stabling and a new crossing loop near Murchison East, which will — from 2020 onwards — enable the provision of more services to and from the region.
“This is the biggest upgrade to the Shepparton line in a generation, and it’s being delivered by a Labor Government,” said Jacinta Allen, the state’s transport minister, who was joined at Shepparton Station by Labor’s member for Northern Victoria, Jaclyn Symes, and the independent member for Shepparton, Suzanna Sheed.
“[The upgrades] will provide better connections for people in Shepparton to work, education and each other, and get them home safer and sooner to the people they love,” Symes said.
In addition, the funds will provide for a new evening return coach service connecting with trains at Seymour to start next year. Timetabling will reportedly be determined through community consultation in the coming months.
The Labor government’s budget is also providing $311.1 million for an extra 39 new VLocity carriages, along with redesigns to the Vlocity fleet to enable their use in long-haul services, while $12.5 million is going towards refurbishing the V/Line fleet, and another $316.4 million to be spent on maintenance on the regional line.
Both Allen and Symes took the opportunity to take shots at the opposition, with the transport minister claiming the Labor government was doing “what the Liberals and Nationals never do – fund and deliver better public transport for regional Victorians, including in Shepparton.”
The announced investments build on the budget’s $1.45 billion Regional Rail Revival package that is to upgrade every regional passenger line in regional Victoria.