It’s full steam ahead for the North East rail line with planning work for a $100million upgrade due to be finalised in the coming weeks.
Federal Member for Indi Cathy McGowan has welcomed the announcement and the government’s commitment to ongoing community consultation.
‘‘This is great news for travellers and communities in the rail corridor looking forward to better rail services,’’ Ms McGowan said.
‘‘It will be important for local people to continue to be involved, to ensure the money is spent in a way that meets community expectations.’’
Ms McGowan hailed the formation of a steering committee bringing together the federal and state governments, the Australian Rail Track Corporation and V/Line as a circuit-breaker for the ‘‘blame game’’.
‘‘I called for a high-level committee in May to encourage the decision-makers to work together to deliver the investment,’’ Ms McGowan said.
‘‘The steering committee is an important step towards all the decision-makers working together to deliver effective rail infrastructure investment.’’
Federal Minister for Infrastructure and Transport Darren Chester echoed Ms McGowan and said community engagement was essential to ensure the proposed program of works aligns with expectations.
‘‘(The) steering committee... is currently determining how to get the best value for our investment and will provide the proposed package of works by the end of 2017,’’ Mr Chester said.
‘‘This report will outline the scope of works to improve the reliability, punctuality and resilience of passenger services between Melbourne and Albury.
‘‘I am conscious of how important reliable passenger train services are to the community in the North East, which is why the community will be engaged around the proposed works.
‘‘The Australian Government has committed $100million toward this project and it’s great to see the progress that has been made on this important project for regional Victoria.’’
Construction completion is on track for early next year with timeframes due to be set following assessment and approval of the Project Proposal Report.