The North East Rail Line between Albury-Wodonga and Melbourne has been upgraded, as the main contracted construction works saw completion on the $235m railway project in Victoria, Australia.
Deputy Prime Minister and Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development Minister Michael McCormack declared: “The upgrade works on 532 linear track kilometres delivered local jobs at a vital time. Any infrastructure funding we invest in means local jobs for local proponents, local contractors and economic stimulus for local businesses, laying the foundations for Victoria’s recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic.
“With the completion of the main works on the North East Rail Line upgrade, passengers will experience more reliable services and a better ride quality between Spencer Street Junction in Melbourne and Albury-Wodonga. The works bring the rail line up to a Victorian Class 2 track performance standard, which is in line with other regional passenger rail lines in Victoria, including accommodating new VLocity trains on the line.
“The benefits of this project go beyond the passenger experience, with more than $70m invested into regional North East Victorian communities since the start of the project in early 2020, which has supported 173 Victorian businesses and service providers.”
Minister for Finance Simon Birmingham applauded the partnership efforts of Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC) and contracting partner John Holland, which saw the delivery of the works above the original scope of the project and ahead of schedule.
Finance Minister Simon Birmingham explained: “Accelerated works took place on the line between July and November 2020, with ARTC delivering additional turnout renewals and more than 30 extra bridge deck conversions, enhancing the services and safety to passengers and communities of North East Victoria.
“We also extend our thanks to the team of 100 John Holland contractors that were based in Wangaratta, many of whom made personal sacrifices to remain in regional Victoria to continue working and complete this project as the pandemic struck.”
Senator for Victoria Jane Hume stated that ARTC delivered the project on behalf of the Australian Government with assistance from transport agencies such as V/Line, Transport for Victoria, Public Transport Victoria and Rail Projects Victoria.
Victoria Senator Jane Hume stated: “This was a large-scale project that involved approximately 615,000 working hours and we would like to thank everyone who played a part in the successful delivery of this significant project including the communities of North East Victoria. Whilst the objectives of the project have been achieved with the completion of major works, some project signalling works will continue throughout the remainder of 2021.”
Wodonga-based Nationals Senator for Victoria Bridget McKenzie appreciated the importance of the upgrade works as having provided employment and kept businesses open during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Victoria Nationals Senator Bridget McKenzie opined: “Government investments like these have long-reaching benefits, from supporting businesses in the region to keeping people in work. Businesses such as the Euroa Caravan Park were kept open with the work crews’ business and CountryWide Asphalt received a boost by providing thousands of tonnes of asphalt for the upgrades.”
With the North East Rail Line fully funded by the Australian Government through ARTC, the Australian Government’s total investment until now in regional passenger rail projects in Victoria exceeds $2.2bn.
The North East Rail Line between Albury-Wodonga and Melbourne has been upgraded, as the main contracted construction works saw completion on the $235m railway project in Victoria. Credit: Arun Clarke/Unsplash.