Major upgrade work on Victoria’s North East line is expected to begin later this year after the list of candidates to deliver the $235 million project was shortened to three.
Shortlisted candidates John Holland, McConnell Dowell, and a Coleman Rail/Rhomberg Rail joint venture were named this week to potentially deliver the main works contract for the federal government project.
Work includes ballast depth improvements, track resurfacing, drainage upgrades, level crossing upgrades and rail bridge upgrades.
The overall aim of the North East Rail Line Upgrade is to improve track reliability, provide smoother journeys and help reduce major delays to passenger services between Melbourne and Albury. Once complete, the line will be up to the same standard as other long-distance passenger railways in regional Victoria.
Ed Walker, general manager for the Australian Rail Track Corporation, said the shortlist was generated from a rigorous expressions of interest process, which drew an “extremely high standard” of responses.
“We expect to award the contract and for main works to start by the end of the year, with project completion in 2021,” Walker said.
Early work is already underway.
“So far this year over 1900 metres of priority mudholes have been removed, as well as the completion of a 15-day track tamping program. Further mudhole removal works and tamping will be carried out in parallel with the main contract development.”
More than 110 level crossings and 120 bridges will be improved along the line to ensure it meets a Victorian Class 2 track standard. The ARTC has already upgraded eight bridges and nine crossings towards those totals.
The scope of the project is the railway between Spencer Street Junction in Melbourne and the state border at Albury-Wodonga.
Federal funding was granted in October 2018, and early works began early in 2019. The trio of shortlisted parties has now been asked to submit a formal tender for the upgrade program. A winner is expected to be announced in November or December.