PASSENGERS will be able to ride the first VLocity train service between Melbourne and Albury next week.
Following years of waiting for new carriages, the VLocity is set to enter service on Thursday after final approval from the Australian Rail Track Corporation.
"We're looking forward to the first standard-gauge VLocity train hitting the tracks from Southern Cross to Albury next week, delivering better services for communities across the North East," Victorian Public Transport Minister Ben Carroll said.
"The community played an important role in the development of the train layouts and passengers will benefit from more comfortable and better services on the newly-upgraded North East Line."
The VLocity set will be used on the 12.05pm run from Southern Cross to Albury and the 5.20pm return service next Thursday.
The introduction of the VLocity set follows final testing, with a six-set unit making a trip to the Border on Monday.
Next Wednesday's all-clear from the ARTC will see the train undergo final checks, cleaning and other operational measures before it can take passengers.
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Border Rail Action Group member John Dunstan was relieved to learn of the VLocity's long-anticipated introduction.
"All I can say is 'it's about time'," he said.
"They (the government) told us at the beginning of the year they would be in by September."
N class trains dating to the 1980s will complement the VLocity for some months.
Remaining VLocity sets, being built in Melbourne for the North East line, are expected to enter service in mid-2022.
Mr Dunstan hopes train operator V/Line upgrades its schedule once all the new trains are operating, pointing to a 20 to 30-minute faster timetable for a Melbourne to Albury service via a VLocity.
The dawn of the new diesel-driven units on the Border run comes as stabling for the VLocity is being constructed at Albury railway station.
It will allow the VLocity to be protected from vandals with fencing, security cameras and lighting to secure the area.
Signals, communications and train control systems are also being upgraded as part of the works at the historic precinct.
There will also be more modern train cleaning technology available as a result of the improvements at the southern end of the railyard.
Following a Christmas-New Year break, workers will resume shifts from January 10 with the project expected to be complete in the early months of 2022.
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