The Victorian government is remaining tight-lipped on the future of faster, modern-styled VLocity trains in the North East.
A redesign of the carriages to allow them to run on the line was announced in the 2016-17 budget and the Border Rail Action Group has started putting on the pressure, hoping they can provide temporary relief to frustrated passengers until new rolling stock arrives.
The Border Mail asked the office of Public Transport Minister Jacinta Allan multiple times over the past week for an update on the VLocity carriages and received a response late on Tuesday saying “the design process for the redesign is currently under way”.
BRAG chairman Bill Traill said the modern trains could serve as a shuttle between Albury-Wodonga and Melbourne and only needed the bogies to be changed to a standard gauge system to run on the line.
He wanted to see a timeframe announced by the government.
“We’ve maintained that’s a really cheap option that they really haven’t opened their minds to,” he said.
“There’s no commitment while there’s no money on the table … It remains in our minds a possibility of a six-year wait for anything (new rolling stock running on the line).”
Ms Allan met with the federal Infrastructure Department last week to discuss the upgrades to the North East line, with the $100 million allocated in the federal budget, but they did not have details yet of what that would entail.
“We fought hard for the money owed to Victoria by the Turnbull government and we are currently working with them on the most effective way to spend the $100 million allocated for the North East line under the $1.6 billion regional rail revival package,” she said.