Track plans for North East rail line completed, again

It was Groundhog Day for the North East rail line upgrade on Friday when the Victorian government announced the scope of works was ready to undergo an independent peer review by Monash University.

The same announcement was made back in February when the funding was for a $100 million project, but the Australian Rail Track Corporation had to go back to the drawing board after the federal government increased its contribution to $240 million.

Federal Infrastructure Minister Michael McCormack said the North East Line Steering Committee, made up of experts and government representatives, met on Monday and provided in-principle endorsement of the broad scope of works.

“Ahead of the works commencing on the major upgrades, track resurfacing (tamping) works taking place this month are also progressing well, with more than 50 kilometres out of a total 84 kilometres of track to be tamped now complete,” he said.

Victorian Public Transport Minister Jacinta Allan said the planning and preparation for the upgrade was undergoing a “thorough process”.

“The steering committee is working hard to ensure these works are completed as quick as possible to get the track up to the standard North East Line passengers deserve,” she said.

The works will bring the North East rail line up to a class 2 standard, which is the same as the rest of Victoria.

Rail advocates have been waiting for the release of the plans so they can have their say during the public consultation process, which has been promised by the ARTC before works begin.