VICTORIA HAS A WIDE PORTFOLIO OF RAILWAY PROJECTS UNDERWAY. THE AIM HERE IS TO INCREASE THE CAPACITY OF PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION AND IMPROVE REGIONAL CONNECTIONS.
REGIONAL RAILWAY PROGRAMME (REGIONAL RAIL REVIVAL PROGRAMME)
The “Regional Rail Revival” programme, endowed with a budget of 1,750 million Australian dollars (1.076 billion euros), will modernise all regional passenger train lines in Victoria. It is a joint initiative of the federal and state governments.
The works include improvement of stations and signaling systems in several lines Rail Projects Victoria (RPV) is responsible for the planning and implementation of the programme that includes the rehabilitation of the Ballarat lines, which have an allocation of 557 million Australian dollars (342 million euros); Bendigo and Echuca, with 91 million Australian dollars (98.3 million euros) and Geelong, with another 160 million AUS$ (98.3 million euros).
There are also funds for improvements in the Gippsland network, 530 million AUS$ (325 million euros); the northeast corridor, to which 275 million Australians (169 euros) will be designated; Shepparton and Warrnambool. Tasks on the latter two are assigned 356 and 114 million AUS$ respectively (218 and 70.1 million euros).
Alongside the foregoing, the Victorian budget 2019/2020 has set aside 100 million Australian dollars (€61.4 million euros) for planning and design work for the total separation of regional and metropolitan services on the Geelong and Ballarat lines. In this way, there will be fewer stops, faster trips and less crowded trains. It is the first step to deliver a fast railway network to the regions.
In turn, the “Western Rail Plan” designed for the western part of the State is underway. One of the works included is the electrification of the lines in this area, in order to increase services and advance the project of a fast railroad to Geelong and Ballarat.
MODERNISATION OF THE MELBOURNE RAILWAY CORRIDOR
he Victoria Government wants to boost rail connections between Melbourne and its outskirt areas. The modernisation of these layouts will improve the system’s power supply and signalling, as well as duplicating several lines in Cranbourne, an urban area 43 kilometres southeast of the city’s central business district.
Several works will be carried out this year on the network that goes from Melbourne to Cranbourne and Pakenham. This programme also includes the elimination of 17 level crossings between Caulfield and Dandenong to avoid traffic congestion and develop a new rail corridor between Sunbury and Cranbourne and Pakenham, as well as the setting up of new rail tracks and larger platforms.
Once all the works are completed, the network will allow for large capacity trains to run from Cranbourne and Pakenham to Sunbury, passing through the central business district through the Metrotunnel. These works, together with the project known as Metrotunnel will allow to transform Melbourne’s busiest rail lines. Furthermore, they will improve security and the efficiency of transport services that, from now on, will be increased its capacity by around 235,000 passengers a week on said route and at peak times. Part of the multi-million dollar budget allocated will also be used for the undertaking of detailed design works with a view to putting into operation new high-capacity metropolitan railway trains in Sunbury.
MELBOURNE-GEELONG FAST RAIL
The 2019-2020 budget of the Federal Government has set aside 2 billion Australian dollars (1.229 billion euros) for a fast rail line between Melbourne and Geelong. Once operational, it will reduce the journey’s distance from 60 to just 32 kilometres. It would also be the first of its kind in Australia, traveling at faster speeds than any train line in the nation at an average of 160 km / h.
The purpose of the initiative is to improve traffic between both cities, which accumulates more than 54,000 vehicles a day between its main access points: the West Gate Bridge and the Princess Freeway.
The investment will be used entirely for the construction and improvement of roads and the signalling system. The Department of Infrastructure of the Government of Australia has estimated that the total cost of the project will reach 4 billion Australian dollars (2.459 billion euros), of which 2 billion will be financed by the Government of Victoria. This operation also includes 40 million dollars for the preparation of five feasibility studies to analyse the development of a fast train network in the main cities of the country.
Among them, the Brisbane-Gold Coast, Melbourne-Albury-Wodonga, Melbourne-Traralgon, Sydneyollongong and Sydney-Parkes routes are considered. This project has promoted the creation of the National Fast Rail Agency, which will work with governments, communities and private sector agents to determine priorities and financing solutions.
Victoria authorities intend to increase public transport capacity in the city of Melbourne. Valued at 11 billion Australian dollars (6.765 billion euros), this project includes the construction of two twin nine kilometre tunnels between the northwest and southeast of the city. From the South Kensington and South Yarra train station, crossing the financial district.
Five new underground stations will be built: Arden, Parkville, CBD North, CBD South and Domain. The construction of both tunnels will end in 2026, according to the planned works’ schedule.
MELBOURNE AIRPORT RAIL LINK
The construction of the Airport Rail Link will link Melbourne Airport with the metropolitan and regional rail network through the Sunshine area, 12 kilometres from the city, and will involve the expenditure of 5 billion Australian dollars (3.074 billion euros).
The feasibility study will be completed in 2020. It will include an economic analysis of the project, as well as technical aspects such as the possible stations of the route.
The works will begin in 2022 and will take nine years to complete.
In the city of Monash, 20 kilometres southwest of Melbourne, a study has been launched to build a railway line that links both urban centres.
The project, which has a federal government item of 475 million Australian dollars (292 million euros), includes a first phase of study and feasibility, as well as the planning and works necessary for its development. In a second stage the possibility of extending this network to Rowville is raised.
HIGH CAPACITY ROLLING MATERIAL (VICTORIA)
Victoria’s state executive, through Metro Trains Melbourne, has acquired 65 high-capacity metropolitan rail vehicles. Initially, they will circulate on the Cranbourne and Pakenham lines, and later arrive at Sunbury once the Metrotunnel is opened. The new high capacity signaling will allow for more trains to travel more frequently at intervals of only two or three minutes. This is a fleet of multi-unit electric trains (EMUs) that will enter service in mid-2020.
This rolling stock will eventually be used in Metro Rail Tunnel when commercial operations begins in 2025.