The Victorian and Commonwealth governments have committed $300 million to upgrades on the Gippsland Line, as part of the Regional Rail Revival program.
The upgrades will improve service reliability between Pakenham and Traralgon, easing congestion on metropolitan lines in the process.
According to the Victorian government, the works will create 400 jobs in the region. A contractor is expected to be appointed shortly and works will begin before the end of 2020, with a targeted completion date in late 2022.
Minister for Transport Infrastructure Jacinta Allan announced the rail upgrades along with improvements to the Princes Highway East at Flynn and Kilmany.
“These important projects will provide safer, more reliable roads and train services for locals and tourists alike,” said Allan.
Regional Rail Revival projects on the Gippsland line include signalling upgrades, a new crossing loop and track duplication, additional platforms, level crossing upgrades, and a new stabling facility near Traralgon. Construction is already underway on a new bridge across the Avon River in Stratford.
The current funding announcement will enable track duplication, extending the Morwell crossing loop, and second platforms at four stations, including Bunyip and Longwarry.
Once complete, trains will be able to run every 40 minutes between Melbourne and Traralgon in off-peak periods.
The package of works will be delivered alongside the signalling works on the Bendigo and Echuca Line.
Member for Eastern Victoria Jane Garrett said that the project will provide local opportunities.
“The Regional Rail Revival will enhance our regional economies, create local jobs and provide valuable opportunities for local suppliers as the state recovers from the coronavirus pandemic.”
The Gippsland region was heavily impacted by the 2019-2020 bushfires, prior to the impact of coronavirus (COVID-19).
“We know It’s been a very difficult year for Gippsland communities – this funding will help to boost the local economy and create jobs while building the transport infrastructure Gippslanders need,” said Allan.