Minister for Public Transport media release 27 April 2016.
The Andrews Labor Government will undertake a massive upgrade of the Ballarat line to Melton, add more than 170 train services, and boost funding for V/Line maintenance and operations to get regional Victorians to work on time and home again safer and sooner.
The Victorian Budget 2016/17 invests more than $1.3 billion in better regional public transport.
The Ballarat line will be duplicated from Deer Park to Melton, additional passing loops will be built along the corridor, extra platforms will be added to key stations, and car parking will be increased as part of a comprehensive upgrade to fix reliability issues and provide more frequent services to and from Ballarat.
Twenty-seven extra VLocity carriages will add to the 21 ordered by the Labor Government last year, which will reduce crowding on the busiest services and allow more trains to run more often.
V/Line’s classic fleet will receive a revamp to fix air-conditioning, clean seats and make them better for the people who use them every day.
More than 170 extra off-peak services will be added across the network, building on the 342 services added last year, to help deliver the frequent service regional Victoria needs every day of the week.
The off-peak services will mean more trains during the day, at night and on weekends on the Ballarat, Bendigo, Geelong, Gippsland, Shepparton and Warrnambool lines.
Signage, disability access and other real passenger improvements will be made at stations along the Gippsland line and the viability of more car parking will be investigated at Moe, Morwell and Traralgon stations. Bendigo Station, and nearby Eaglehawk Station, will also be improved.
The North East line will receive an extra carriage, with revamped trains reconfigured to boost reliability, and a long-term plan for rolling stock on the North East line will be developed. A range of critical major maintenance, minor works and carpark upgrades will be delivered across regional Victoria.
V/Line, which suffered from savage funding cuts under the former Liberal Government, will be bolstered with $198 million to rebuild the capacity of the regional operator and deliver the services passengers expect and deserve.
Business cases for major upgrades to deliver extra services and reliability on the Gippsland and Bendigo lines, and to Armstrong Creek near Geelong, will be developed, as will a business case for duplication from South Geelong to Waurn Ponds.
Planning will also be undertaken for track, signalling and other infrastructure upgrades between Upfield and Somerton to increase services to and from Seymour.
The Budget also provides funding for development of a next generation regional train to boost capacity on the busiest corridors.
These initiatives will support the Regional Network Development Plan, which will be released in coming weeks.
Quotes attributable to Minister for Public Transport Jacinta Allan
“We’re investing in the train lines across regional Victoria to give people the reliable service they deserve.”
“Funding for regional public transport has been neglected for too long. We’re not making that mistake – we’re investing in the upgrades and services our network needs. We’re getting it done.
“We are funding improvements to tracks, trains and stations that are needed now, and we’re looking to the future of regional public transport and what our network will need in 10, 20 or 30 years’ time.”