Wednesday 17th Oct, 2018

Work starts on Victoria’s regional fast rail project

<p>Victorian premier Steve Bracks turned the first sod on the Ballarat line last week to mark the beginning of work on the state’s $550m regional fast rail project.</p> <p>The project is expected to deliver faster and more frequent rail services between Melbourne, Ballarat, Bendigo, Geelong and the Latrobe Valley, with 29 new trains travelling at speeds of up to 160km&#47h.</p> <p>All four lines are now being tested to determine the condition of track foundations and where new or upgraded track will be needed.</p> <p>Contractors are also set to begin laying fibre optic cable for the new signalling system.</p> <p>Mr Brack said the project would be built "on time and on budget by mid 2005".</p> <p>But Victorian opposition leader Robert Doyle said costs could blow out to $1bn.</p> <p>The turning of the first sod does not signal the start of work, Mr Doyle said.</p> <p>The Thiess-ALSTOM consortium will upgrade the Ballarat and Geelong lines, while a joint venture between John Holland and Transfield will upgrade the Bendigo and Latrobe Valley lines.</p> <p>The fast rail project is the centrepiece of the State Government’s $3.5bn Linking Victoria transport strategy.</p> <br />

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