Funding Boost To Improve Freight And Passenger Rail

Transport Pillar

The Victorian Government is investing $126 million to improve regional freight and passenger rail services, as part of the economic response to the coronavirus crisis.

The upgrades will be vital to support local communities and create jobs and boost economic activity in regional Victoria.

An $83 million freight improvement package will focus on replacing sleepers, repairing ballasts and renewing level crossing equipment along almost 400 kilometres of critical freight-only rail lines.

The works will provide regional growers and exporters with more viable freight options as the shift from road to rail continues, helping farmers access key domestic and international markets.

The Government is also investing $7.5 million to improve tracks across the regional passenger network – delivering more reliable services from Corio to Waurn Ponds (improving travel times and reliability to Melbourne is a G21 priority), Deer Park Junction to Ballarat, Ballarat to Ararat, Donnybrook to Seymour and the Bendigo East Track.

A further $36 million will be spent to maintain the V/Line Classic Fleet, with works to be done by Bombardier - supporting local jobs in both Bendigo and Melbourne.

More than 20 new workers will be hired in V/Line fleet maintenance roles as engineers, repair workers and cleaners.

The maintenance blitz is a key part of the government’s $328 million investment in freight, public transport and roads upgrades, which will create and support more than 600 jobs during the coronavirus crisis.