Victoria’s Regional Rail Link (RRL) is progressing on schedule, with the project reaching a major milestone, according to the state government.
Public transport minister Terry Mulder said the opening of platforms 15 and 16 at Southern Cross for Bairnsdale, Geelong, Traralgon and Warrnambool line trains means the first package of work for the RRL is over.
“Works at Werribee West Junction are now complete, meaning both ends of Melbourne’s first lengthy new rail line, since the Altona Loop opened in 1985, are finished,” he added.
“Removing the inner suburban bottleneck with dedicated tracks for country trains in and out of Southern Cross will mean increased train reliability.”
The dedicated V/Line tracks run between Southern Cross and South Kensington, with the RRL eventually offering routes all the way to Werribee West en route to Warrnambool and Geelong.
Mr Mulder said the new tracks mean the rail operator’s Geelong trains do not have to compete with Metro’s suburban carriages from South Kensington.
Earlier this month, the minister admitted there have been “frustrating delays” on the approach to Southern Cross because of this competition.
Theo Taifalos, V/Line chief executive, said there will be some changes to timetables for Geelong line passengers and he encouraged passengers to check their travel route.
Member for South Barwon Andrew Katos said he was delighted with the development of RRL, adding that it was just the beginning of rail engineering investment in the region.
Aside from this project, the Victorian government has also committed $25.9 million to the construction of a new V/Line station at Grovedale.
The project is set to boost access to the Surf Coast and Geelong’s rapidly expanding southern suburbs.
“With Geelong set to become the headquarters of the NDIS, Geelong station will be upgraded to improve disability access,” Mr Katos added.