North East group welcomes rail announcement

The Hume Corridor Passenger Rail Collaboration has welcomed news the Australian Government has officially signed off on the $235 million for the North East rail line and that the tenders and materials sourcing has begun.

The rail group had a briefing from the Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC) on Thursday, October 11 which discussed the scope of works and next steps with the North East rail line upgrade project.

Chair of the Hume Corridor Passenger Rail Collaboration Wodonga Mayor Cr Anna Speedie said it was fantastic to see the commitment to this project from the Australian Government but also the commitment by the ARTC to keep communities informed throughout the project.

“This is obviously going to be a major project that traverses our council areas but already the ARTC is thinking about how to keep communities informed now and during the project,” Cr Speedie said.

“Our communities can expect to see pop-ups at the train stations and events from the end of this month that will provide them with information about the project.

“In addition there will be a dedicated project website and fact sheets as well as a commitment to keep this group informed of their progress.

“Our rail line will be the focus of significant upgrade works with the line upgrade as well as the Inland Rail project and all these agencies are co-ordinating their efforts for the best outcome for our communities.

“It’s heartening that after three years of working together with the North East councils and the Border Rail Action Group to see some results on the ground.

“There’s been a lot of work done not only by this group but also working with the ARTC and state stakeholders and I want to recognise the work of the Victorian Government and Minister Jacinta Allan in getting us to this point.

“We look forward now to the finalising of the design and for the works to begin that will bring the North East rail line up to a “class 2” standard and on par with other regional passenger rail lines in Victoria.”

Major works are expected to be fully under way by mid-next year and finalised by mid-2021.

The works include mud hole removal, crossovers and turnouts, resurfacing, signalling works and drainage improvements. There is also some replacement of underbridges and level crossing upgrades.

A study by the rail collaboration showed an improved service could deliver a minimum of 75 per cent or more than 385,000 additional passenger rail trips a year that would see an economic boost of $113 million.

The collaboration includes AlburyCity, Benalla, Wangaratta and Wodonga and the Border Rail Action Group.