The Regional Rail Link project schedule is set to accelerate in January, following a brief break over Christmas.
According to the Victorian state government, the $4.8 billion initiative will have three weeks of “around-the-clock work” taking place between December 28 and January 19.
Premier Denis Napthine, inspecting railway engineering work at Footscray Station, said the region is undergoing a profound transformation due to investment in the project.
“Regional Rail Link is rejuvenating Footscray, bringing better infrastructure and train services to this diverse and vibrant community,” he explained.
“Footscray is the epicentre of the summer construction program, which will see significant works undertaken throughout Melbourne’s west.”
Dr Napthine confirmed work will continue on the revamp of Footscray and Sunshine stations, as well as progress on removing two level crossings on Anderson Road in Sunshine.
“Reconfiguration of the ‘flyover’ tracks leading into Southern Cross station will also take place, as part of the untangling of Melbourne’s rail network,” he said.
However, passengers were warned that coaches will replace most trains on the Bendigo, Sunbury and Ballarat lines to allow the work to be completed.
Other affected services include the V/Line from Albury, Seymour and Shepparton, as well as interstate services on the XPT from Sydney and the Overland from Adelaide.
Despite these disruptions, public transport minister for Victoria Terry Mulder said the decision was made specifically to ramp up work during the Christmas period when passenger demand is lower.
“Patronage drops around 50 per cent during the Christmas and New Year’s break,” he stated.
Regional Rail Link Authority chief executive officer Corey Hannett said the large-scale project had hit several milestones in 2013, including the opening of the new West Footscray station in October.
He added that these are just the beginning, with even bigger milestones planned for this year.