There is good news for train services in Benalla as the Victorian Government has reached an agreement over the design of new trains for the north-east line.
An agreement has been signed with Bombardier Transportation Australia, which will complete the design of bogies for new standard-gauge VLocity trains.
Bombardier is doing this job in addition to building the existing orders for 87 VLocity carriages as part of the state government’s $848.5 million investment in regional rolling stock.
Bogies are the essential component under the train that bear the load and contain the axles, suspension and breaks.
As VLocity trains have not previously been fitted with standard-gauge bogies, this component will take the longest to design, construct and gain safety accreditation for the new north-east trains.
Detailed design of the new standard-gauge bogie has recently started and will take up to 12 months until they reach the production, accreditation and track testing stage.
State Member for Northern Victoria Jaclyn Symes said it was a Labor Government that took the fight to Canberra to upgrade the track and it is Labor who is not wasting a minute to ensure the trains are there, when the track’s finished.
‘‘We’re getting on with delivering the redesigned VLocity trains (for the) north-east line, which will provide passengers with a reliable and comfortable journey,’’ Ms Symes said.
The full build of the new long-haul VLocity trains that will run between Albury-Wodonga and Melbourne will take two years to complete.
Starting this work now will ensure the new rolling stock is available when the $235 million upgrade of the north-east line is completed, as part of the $1.7billion Regional Rail Revival, a joint initiative of the Australian and Victorian governments.
The upgrade will bring the track up to Victorian Class 2 standard, the necessary standard before the modern, long-haul VLocity trains can operate between Melbourne and Albury-Wodonga.
The Labor Government’s investment in regional trains has provided a 40 per cent increase in regional rail services, with V/Line now running more than 2000 services every week.
The government has also invested $15 million to improve comfort and reliability on the existing standard-gauge Classic Fleet trains, including facilitating an extra, fourth train to operate along the north-east line, to reduce train cancellations as a result of a train fault.