Trains are expected to resume services between Melbourne and Sydney after the fatal derailment near Wallan last week.
After most of the derailed train carriages were lifted and taken to Sydney on Tuesday, the Australian Rail Track Corporation said track and signalling repairs at the accident scene will be finished on Thursday.
Once the work is complete, tests will be performed and freight trains will be back in service on Friday.
Passenger services are then expected to resume over the weekend.
"I expect services to resume within the next 24 hours," Australian Rail Track Corporation CEO John Fullerton said on Thursday.
"I expect freight to start first but yes, V/Line and Transport for NSW are also working on their plans to resume services. I expect that to happen over the course of the weekend."
Noting the restart will rely on the ARTC making the track available to train operators, Mr Fullerton said track upgrades will be implemented between Melbourne and Albury.
Mr Fullerton said the top priority is safety and he sought to reassure commuters.
"The incident was a shock to us all and was a shattering incident," he said.
"I'm sure that plays in people's minds, but we've put a lot of work in this recommissioning and our priority is to run a safe railway."
The XPT train from Sydney to Melbourne derailed at Wallan on Thursday night, killing experienced driver John Kennedy and his pilot, a 49-year-old from Castlemaine in Victoria.
It was revealed on Monday that Mr Kennedy raised concerns with a friend about train faults along the same route.
Investigators from the Australian Transport Safety Bureau will release a preliminary report after 30 days, ahead of a final report in 18 months.
Australian Associated Press
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