THE long-awaited introduction of VLocity trains between Albury and Melbourne this year is taking a major step forward with extensive tests being carried out on the upgraded North-East railway line.
The trains will be delivered to the North-East line as soon as they pass extensive testing in line with Australian Rail Track Corporation and National Rail Safety Regulator requirements.
It ensures the standard gauge VLocity trains are safe to operate in all conditions.
There are also spaces for people with mobility aids.
"Track testing on the North-East line is essential to ensure the trains are safe and reliable before entering service," Victorian Public Transport Minister Ben Carroll said.
"It follows months of mechanical and electrical testing."
The six standard-gauge VLocity trains for the North-East are being built at Alstom's Dandenong factory.
"We're proud to be delivering these trains to the North-East line to provide better, more comfortable and more reliable services for passengers," Member for Northern Victoria Jaclyn Symes said.
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Border Rail Action Group's John Dunstan welcomed the testing work.
"The complete order will be delivered some time during next year which is when we can look forward to reduced travel times as long as V/Line takes up the challenge to do that," he said.
"They need to do these regulatory tests because they are a different type of train and make sure the sensors at boom gates work and things like that.
"It will only be three carriages initially, but the other three carriages are pretty close behind.
"The significance of getting the whole of the VLocitys on order sooner rather than later is that until they are all on the track and got enough rolling stock to completely replace the old N-Class trains they can't look at reducing the travel time.
"When they've got them all replaced by VLocitys they should be able to reduce the travel time by half an hour."
The $235 million track upgrade to a standard capable of running VLocity trains was completed earlier this year.
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