The federal and Victorian governments have announced that community consultation will soon commence for upgrades to the North East rail line, following a meeting of the project’s steering committee.
The committee, which is chaired by Transport for Victoria, met last week with representatives from the Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC), V/Line, Public Transport Victoria, Rail Projects Victoria and VicTrack. It is currently finalising the scope of the upgrade works on the North East Line and their delivery schedule.
Deputy prime minister and federal infrastructure minister Michael McCormack indicated that the planned upgrades would be reviewed independently by a Monash University team prior to their commencement.
“[The review will] provide further rigour and assurance that the scope will deliver on the Commonwealth’s $235 million commitment to upgrade the line to achieve Victorian Class 2 standard performance,” McCormack said.
“This will support the running of new modern trains on the line which the Victorian Government has committed to delivering.”
Community consultation on the upgrade works will begin within the next two weeks, and will continue in the lead up to the release of the finalised project delivery schedule. This is to include a presentation by the ARTC and Transport for Victoria at the Hume Corridor Passenger group meeting on Thursday 24 May.
Both McCormack Victoria’s transport minister, Jacinta Allan, welcomed the opportunity for community members and stakeholders to give their opinions on upgrades to North East Line.
“It’s great to see community consultation commencing and agencies working together on what we can do now to provide a better passenger experience,” Allan said.
Allan also said she was pleased with the progress being made by the steering committee and the efforts of the ARTC and V/Line in working towards improving services on the line.
“With several train faults, delays and cancellations over a number of months, the Victorian Government has also asked V/Line to review the causes and provide advice on what steps needed to be taken to provide a better service for both passengers and staff,” she said.
Allan indicated that V/Line were providing data on track condition, signalling faults, passenger delays and rolling stock maintenance which will be used to inform and prioritise the scope of works and the delivery schedule for the North East Line project.
“Once we have the scope and schedule of works finalised, the Victorian Government will know the timeframe for new trains to be ready on the upgraded track.”