Contractor announced for Geelong and Warrnambool line upgrades

Upgrades to the Geelong and Warrnambool line will be carried out by Downer, Rail Projects Victoria announced.

As part of the $1.75 billion Regional Rail Revival program, Downer will deliver signalling upgrades between Waurn Ponds and Warrnambool and a new crossing loop at Boorcan to increase reliability and improve recovery times on the Warrnambool line.

On the Geelong Line Downer will construct a second platform, duplicated track, a pedestrian overpass, improved and new parking, bicycle storage facilities, and more CCTV, lighting, and myki machines.

According to Mark Mackay, executive general manager transport projects at Downer, the project will draw upon Downer’s expertise.

“Our committed team of experts will deliver an integrated solution, future-proofed to minimise rework and maximise opportunities for passengers and the community,” he said.

Construction will begin in mid-2020 and completion is hoped for by late 2021.

In addition, Downer will construct a new stabling facility at Waurn Ponds for the overnight stabling of V/Line trains for more frequent future services.

Elsewhere as part of the upgrades on the Regional Rail Revival program, planning works are being undertaken on Stage 2 of the Geelong Line Upgrade, which includes the Waurn Ponds Duplication Project. Track will be duplicated from South Geelong to Waurn Ponds, and level crossings will be removed at Fyans Street and Surf Coast Highway. South Geelong and Marshall stations will also be upgraded.

Downer will utilise its knowledge gained from the Waurn Ponds station in 2014, as well as work on the Bendigo station upgrade, and the High Capacity Metro Trains maintenance facility.

NZ National party proposes more transport authorities

New Zealand’s opposition party, National, is proposing a shake-up of transport governance, by establishing regional transport authorities for both Wellington and Canterbury as well as the accelerated rollout of integrated ticketing.

“It is unacceptable that people have been using bank cards and phones to pay for London’s Tube since 2004 but train users in Wellington still pay with coins and cardboard tickets,” the party’s transport spokesperson Chris Bishop said.

“National is proposing to accelerate the rollout of integrated ticketing nationwide.”

The proposal was made in the party’s Transport and Infrastructure discussion document, released on Monday.

“National is proposing new regional transport authorities in Wellington and Canterbury that will have sole-charge over public transport, as well as cycling, parking and roading.”

“We believe public transport governance is too fragmented in this country, with opaque accountability and no clear delineation of which agency is responsible for each part of the network. This is diluting the quality of service for commuters.”

“I think everyone would agree the current transport model is not perfect, it’s far from perfect, and we’ve seen that with the rollout of the bus changes over the course of the last year.”

“The bus fiasco in Wellington has indicated that the shared responsibility and the divided responsibility and accountability lines has not really worked.The city council blaming the regional council, the regional council blaming the city council and when that kind of expired they all put up their hands and blamed the New Zealand Transport Agency, and that’s just not tenable.”

The party says, if elected, they will introduce a revenue-neutral congestion charge in major cities to help manage the flow of traffic.

“By charging for travelling at certain times and/or on certain routes it encourages commuters to find alternatives, such as travelling earlier or later, taking a different route or getting out of the car and taking public transport,” the document says.

Works blitz to send Ballarat line upgrade over the line

A 23-day works blitz during November will take place in Victoria to get the Ballarat Line Upgrade completed.

Crews have already worked more than one million hours on the project, laying almost 30 kilometres of track, building crossing loops and duplicated track, upgrading stations, and constructing a new station.

However, more work remains to enable more frequent and reliable services, including upgrading key stations and undertaking critical signalling commissioning.

While buses replace trains, the Ballarat Line Upgrade team will use the opportunity to also complete track work at the Hopkins Road level crossing in Rockbank.

“This half-a-billion investment in the Ballarat line will bring more frequent and reliable services, transforming the state’s second busiest regional train line,” said Victorian senator Sarah Henderson.

“It will provide much-needed extra services in the morning and afternoon peak periods, plus a train every 40 minutes off-peak for growing communities along the line.”

The Ballarat Line Upgrade is part of the $1.75 billion Regional Rail Revival project, a joint initiative of the Australian and Victorian governments, which includes upgrading regional passenger train lines across Victoria.

This has created more than 1,000 jobs, according to a Victorian government statement.

After works are complete, critical safety testing and driver training will take place before the new services begin in 2020.