The Victorian government has committed to fund stage three of the Shepparton Line upgrade, which will enable VLocity trains to run nine return services a day between Melbourne and northern Victoria.
Victorian Minister for Transport Infrastructure Jacinta Allan made the announcement while visiting works underway on stage 2 of the project.
The 2020 federal budget also included $320 million for the project.
Early works include non-destructive digging, feature surveys, geotechnical drilling, and excavating test pits for soil and groundwater samples.
Once stage two is complete, VLocity trains will be able to run between Melbourne and Shepparton, with new stabling facilities established.
“We’re not wasting a minute getting on with the second stage of our Shepparton Line Upgrade – and it won’t be long before passengers are enjoying more comfortable and reliable journeys in our modern VLocity trains,” said Allan.
Stage two also involves level crossing upgrades between Donnybrook and Shepparton to make them compatible with VLocity trains and increase safety. Mooroopna, Murchinson East and Nagambie stations will be lengthened to support VLocity trains.
A crossing loop extension at Murchinson East will also improve service reliability.
Stage two is expected to be completed in late 2022.
Stage three will involve further upgrades to enable trains to travel at up to 130km/h, along with signalling and other upgrades to enable nine return services a day between Shepparton and Melbourne.
Local contractors and suppliers wanting to be involved in stage two can register through the Industry Capability Network to provide products and services to the Coleman Rail-KBR joint venture delivering the works.
“Major projects like the Shepparton Line Upgrade aren’t just delivering huge benefits for regional passengers, they’re giving local economies across Victoria a boost as our state recovers from the coronavirus pandemic,” said member for northern Victoria Mark Gepp.
Stage one of the Shepparton Line Upgrade is complete and enabled 10 extra weekly services along the line with improved stabling at Shepparton Station. Coach services also increased between Seymour and Shepparton.