GIPPSLAND RAIL LINE UPGRADE EARLY WORKS ON TRACK

EARLY works are progressing for the $530 million Gippsland Rail Line Upgrade, under the $1.75 billion Regional Rail Revival package funded by the Australian and Victorian governments.

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure and Transport Michael McCormack said funding has been provided to upgrade drainage and improve safety by installing boom gates, bells, flashing lights and axle counters at level crossings along the line.

“The Regional Rail Revival package, including the Gippsland Rail Line Upgrade, is protecting the future of regional communities and businesses by investing in regional Victoria’s 1,757 kilometres of rail track, improving connections to jobs, education and health services,” Mr McCormack said.

“Regional Victoria contributes over $72 billion to the economy annually, is responsible for nearly a third of the state’s exports, is home to a third of the state’s small businesses and attracts more than 14 million tourists each year – it’s projects like this that support the region’s economy in the long term.”

Victorian Minister for Public Transport and Major Projects Jacinta Allan said the package of works would improve the reliability and safety of the Gippsland rail corridor.

“Early works will improve drainage and upgrade level crossings between Sale and Bairnsdale and install axle counters at level crossings to improve train detection between Pakenham and Traralgon – boosting safety for motorists, passengers and staff along the line,” Minister Allan said.

“We’re getting on with these vital upgrades, which will deliver more trains, more often and boost the reliability of services – so passengers can plan their trip and their life with greater certainty.”

Federal Member for Gippsland Darren Chester said the Gippsland Rail Line Upgrade would also deliver duplicated track and signalling upgrades – as well as several station upgrades along the corridor – to boost reliability and enable extra services to Gippsland.

“The regional network currently caters for some of Victoria’s fastest growing municipalities and now carries about 19.3 million passengers a year,” Mr Chester said.

“The Gippsland corridor has seen significant increases in patronage over recent years, with further growth forecast over the next decade.

“These works are estimated to create up to 400 new jobs in the Latrobe Valley, so this project is a major win for the region.”

Member for Eastern Victoria Harriet Shing said the investment would bring transport and employment benefits for people in Gippsland.

“These long-awaited improvements are not just welcome news for local passengers, they’re also good for local jobs – creating work during construction, better connecting locals to employment opportunities and making it easier for people to come to Gippsland.”

The Australian and Victorian Governments are jointly funding the $530 million Gippsland Rail Line Upgrade, which includes the $95 million Avon River bridge replacement.

Shane Manning