How Christmas trains could change Australia’s railway network
By 2020, trains will run on all four railroads, and all major cities will have a train station, but the Victorian Government has announced it will move ahead with a controversial plan to open the country’s entire freight and passenger rail network to passenger trains by 2030.
Under the plan, which is expected to cost $500 million, Melbourne will become the first major city to have a passenger train service, with all trains running on the same network as freight trains.
The Melbourne City Council and the Melbourne Rail Corporation are planning to open a new track under the new corridor on December 1, 2026.
“The rail network of the state is the safest in the nation and we want to be that way,” Victorian Transport Minister Mark McGowan said.
“There is not a single major city that hasn’t experienced a train crash or serious incident that resulted in a serious injury.”
This will be a massive undertaking, costing tens of millions of dollars.
“But the benefits will be immense for our community, for our businesses, for the community and for the state.”
Under the Victorian Rail Infrastructure Program, the state’s railway sector has already been given $2.7 billion to upgrade track, signalling and signalling systems, with the government expecting to receive $4.3 billion over 10 years.
The Victorian Government will also spend $3 billion on a new commuter rail network and will invest $2 billion to modernise train facilities, including a new station, track and signalling system, including signalling facilities, signalling systems and station upgrades.
Mr McGowan told ABC Radio Melbourne he wanted to make the project a reality by 2028, but he acknowledged the project would cost millions of people money.
“We want to make sure that we can deliver this project as fast as we can,” he said.
Melbourne City Council says it has already signed a contract with the state to open Victoria’s new line to passenger service in 2020, and has started the process of securing private sector funding to build the line.
The new line will include a station on the southern side of the Yarra River, with Melbourne Metro Rail running trains from the CBD to the Melbourne Airport.
The train will travel between the CBD and Melbourne’s central business district, with passengers using an open-air train service that will use trains that use the same tracks as freight.
“It’s a very innovative and unique solution for the future of our network and the future, of our city,” Mr McGowan added.
“I think this is the right time for this project to get under way.”
The state is currently spending $6.7 million per year to maintain and modernise the existing rail network, with about $1.4 billion allocated for new infrastructure, including upgrading the track and the signalling system.
Under the new plan, trains running along the existing line will use an existing signalling system instead of the new signalling system that is being developed for the new line.
New signalling is being considered for the existing track, but Mr McGower said the project was not yet ready for prime time.
“That is a very significant commitment for our future network,” he told ABC radio.
“If we can do this with a modern signalling system we will have the same reliability as freight train signalling.”
The next thing that is really important to us is that the track can be repaired, that the signalling can be maintained.
“Mr McGower also said that the Victorian government was also considering building a new line in the state, but this could take up to 20 years.”
In 2026 we will build this track in Melbourne,” he added.
Topics:rail-transport,transport-transportation,community-and-society,public-sector,health,community,melbourne-3000,vic,melburn-3186,vicFirst posted February 02, 2020 11:31:59More stories from Victoria