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From the Minister for Public Transport

Thursday, 14 May 2009

Regional Rail Link, the centrepiece of the Brumby Government’s $38 billion Victorian Transport Plan, has secured Rudd Government funding allowing works to increase services across the V/Line and metropolitan rail networks to start by the end of the year.
At Southern Cross Station today, Premier John Brumby welcomed last night’s Rudd Government Federal Budget announcement of $3.2 billion towards the project and said it demonstrated Victoria had prioritised the right nation building projects to stimulate the economy and sustain jobs.

“Regional Rail Link will create a generational shift in Victoria’s rail network, for the first time separate our regional and metropolitan trains, improve capacity, allow for more services and importantly, secure at least 2,800 jobs during construction,” Mr Brumby said.

“We are delighted that the Rudd Government will invest $3.2 billion for the project which is the biggest single investment in the metropolitan rail network since the City Loop was built and the first major new rail line for metropolitan Melbourne in 80 years. 

“Regional Rail Link was Victoria’s highest priority project for action submitted to the Infrastructure Australia and will improve reliability for Geelong, Ballarat and Bendigo V/Line services and free up capacity for more trains on the Werribee, Craigieburn and Sunbury (Sydenham) lines.”

Regional Rail Link will create up to 50 kilometres of new track between West Werribee and Southern Cross Station.

The new rail link will serve the growth suburbs in Melbourne’s west of Tarneit and Wyndham Vale and include the rebuilding of Sunshine station with new platforms and a new rail bridge over the Maribyrnong River.

Works will start before the end of the year to commission platforms 15 and 16 at Southern Cross Station with major construction of the new track to start in 2010.

Public Transport Minister Lynne Kosky said a number of bottlenecks where suburban and regional trains intersect would be removed to improve service reliability and allow more trains to operate at the busiest times.

“Regional Rail Link provides capacity for more than 20 extra train services every hour across the Geelong, Ballarat, Bendigo, Werribee, Craigieburn and Sunbury (Sydenham) lines providing capacity for more than 9000 extra passengers every hour,” Ms Kosky said.

“This significant project means that for the first time regional trains coming from the west and suburban services from the north and west will travel on separate lines, removing conflicts where metropolitan and regional services cross tracks in the inner city.

“When combined with our purchase of 74 additional carriages for the V/Line network, Regional Rail Link will double the capacity of the V/Line network which is now experiencing patronage at 60 year highs.
“The recognition by the Rudd Government for this important project shows strong cooperation between Victoria and the Commonwealth to boost our infrastructure and create jobs.”

V/Line’s punctuality and reliability will be bolstered with the completion of Regional Rail Link as many V/Line trains currently get stuck behind suburban services when they enter the metropolitan network.

Suburban trains will also benefit with better access to the City Loop and Southern Cross Station, improving reliability of services. Once complete, train paths now used for V/Line trains will become free for additional metropolitan services.

Planning works have begun and the proposed alignment for the Regional Rail Link will be released in near future and be available for public consultation.

Regional Rail Link is expected to take five years to complete.

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