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Signalling and track infrastructure upgrades on the Warrnambool Line have begun.
The jointly funded, state and federal project aims to enable more services to run between Warrnambool and Geelong, said Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development Michael McCormack.
“It’s pleasing to see this vital project get underway, with signalling upgrades and a crossing loop at Boorcan to play a key part in boosting reliability of the line and allowing more services to be introduced,” McCormack said.
“The addition of the crossing loop will boost the number of services to the line, benefiting a growing number of regional travellers.”
The first works underway involve the installation of underground cabling to enable signalling upgrades along the line.
The construction of a 2.2km passing loop between Boorcan Road and Oswell Road in Boorcan will begin in the coming weeks.
Victorian Minister for Transport Infrastructure Jacinta Allan said the entire program would be finished in late 2021.
“Thanks to these upgrades, passengers on the Warrnambool Line will benefit from a much-needed fifth weekday return service, providing extra travel options for people in Victoria’s South West,” Allan said.
Rail Projects Victoria awarded Downer the contract to carry out the works, in addition to its work on the Geelong line.
Other upgrades along the Warrnambool line have just completed, with the renovation of 12 level crossings now complete. Crossings had new boom gates, bells, lights, and better train detection technology fitted.
Federal Member for Wannon Dan Tehan said the work was completed while minimising the threat of any spread of COVID-19.
“More than 170 workers have been involved in the level crossing upgrades since works began in January, with V/Line crews working around 28,500 hours under modified conditions to reduce the spread of coronavirus.”
Patronage on the line has grown steadily over the past years, with patronage on the adjoining Geelong line growing significantly, by 131.5 per cent from 2014-15 to 2018-19.
State Member for Western Victoria Gayle Tierney said the improvements would benefit the region.
“With work on signalling and the crossing loop now underway residents can soon expect more frequent services and better reliability,” she said.
“This project is also providing jobs for people in the region, which is especially important during the coronavirus pandemic.”