Funding boost for freight and passenger rail

Regional Victoria can look forward to better freight and passenger rail services thanks to a $126 million rail investment as part of the economic response to the coronavirus crisis.

The upgrades will be vital to support regional communities, 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.

A $36 million investment will 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.

A further $7.5 million will be spent improving tracks across the regional passenger network – delivering more reliable services from Deer Park Junction to Ballarat, Ballarat to Ararat, Donnybrook to Seymour, Corio to Waurn Ponds and the Bendigo East Track.

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.

The Government is investing more than $2.7 billion in economic stimulus as part of the Building Works package, to kickstart the economy and support workers through the pandemic.