Operations & Maintenance, Passenger Rail, Safety, Standards & Regulation

New bio-wash facility for Bendigo

Almost $8m is to be spent on a bio-wash facility at Bendigo, to be managed by Alstom.

THE Victorian government has announced plans for a new bio-wash facility at the Bendigo Station precinct, aimed at ensuring more reliable services across the regional rail network.

Unfortunately, animal strikes can be a common occurrence across the regional network, with figures showing more than 100 strikes in a month can occur at times when wildlife is more active.

V/Line currently has access to one bio-wash facility at South Dynon, near Southern Cross Station, so the construction of this additional facility in regional Victoria is expected to help speed up the process to ensure trains can return to service sooner.

It will also help cater for the growing number of new trains, which have been rolled out onto the regional network in recent years.

The new $7.9 million indoor facility will be delivered by Coleman Rail and will feature state-of-the-art cleaning equipment and elevated railing, allowing staff to complete thorough inspections and clean all parts of a train before it returns to service.

The Bendigo line has the highest number of animal strikes in the state, so this facility will enable trains that experience a strike on-route to Bendigo to be cleaned prior to operating another, with less disruption than if it had to return to the facility in Melbourne for cleaning.

V/Line will also use the facility to clean trains from other parts of the network that don’t require immediate cleaning.

The bio-wash facility is to be built in the train stabling area near Bendigo Station that is not currently being used for services and is expected to create 50 jobs during the construction phase.

Once finished, the facility will be leased to V/Line’s train maintenance provider Alstom to manage. Alstom has an agreement for cleaning at the facility to be completed by Bendigo Rail Workshops’ staff, creating another five to eight ongoing local jobs.

Public transport minister Ben Carroll said the Bendigo bio-wash facility would help trains get back on the tracks faster after an incident.

“As we continue to bring more trains onto the regional network, it’s equally important that we’re investing in the infrastructure to support that growth,” Carroll said.

Member for Bendigo East Jacinta Allan said animal strikes were unavoidable but could be incredibly frustrating for local passengers.

“Having a bio-wash facility in Bendigo is a great investment that also supports local jobs,” she said.

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