Minister for Public Transport Terry Mulder joined Deputy Premier and Member for Gippsland South Peter Ryan today at Appleton Dock to welcome Metro’s $13 million rail grinding machine that will re-profile steel rail on the Traralgon to Bairnsdale line, enabling V/Line’s passenger trains to resume operation.
The Austrian-manufactured milling machine (rail grinder) arrived in Melbourne after an eight week journey on the M/V Otello.
Mr Mulder said Metro’s loan of the rail grinder for urgent works on the Bairnsdale line was a good example of how since the establishment of Public Transport Victoria, Victoria’s rail operators were cooperating to deliver the best outcomes for passengers who made 225 million trips a year on Metro and 13 million trips on V/Line trains.
“More than 10,000 passengers a month in total board at either Rosedale, Sale, Stratford or Bairnsdale, so V/Line’s trains are important for family, leisure and business travellers residing in or visiting East Gippsland,” Mr Mulder said.
“Bairnsdale’s trains do not just serve East Gippsland. V/Line’s connecting coaches from Bairnsdale also convey passengers the scenic way to Cooma, NSW and Canberra, ACT.”
Mr Ryan thanked Andrew Lezala, CEO of Metro for his prompt recognition as to how Metro’s new leased rail grinder would assist Gippslanders in getting back their V/Line trains.
“Safety will always be V/Line’s top priority. Now that the rail grinder is in Victoria, V/Line staff can start grinding the tracks for a kilometre on each side of the 32 level crossings between Traralgon and Bairnsdale,” Mr Ryan said.
Since March 2013, level crossing related safety equipment between Traralgon and Bairnsdale has been unable to consistently detect approaching trains early enough for warning bells, flashing lights and boom barriers to activate for the required 25 seconds before a train reaches the level crossing.
The rail grinder will ‘shave’ back (reprofile) the rail head, creating an improved electrical connection between the rail and train wheel.
V/Line CEO Theo Taifalos said that with no suitable rail grinder readily available in Australia, getting the specialist equipment to Victoria had been a lengthy but necessary process.
“If all goes to plan, I expect to see all Gippsland line passenger trains returned by the end of October,” Mr Taifalos said.
An L. Arthur Pty Ltd heavy haulage truck will transport the grinder to Traralgon where it will start work in two stages:
• Traralgon to Sale works will start at the end of September 2013 and should be finished by mid October.
• Sale to Bairnsdale works will occur from mid to the end of October 2013
Once works are complete, the Victorian Coalition Government and V/Line will invest up to $8 million to install axle counters at all 32 level crossings along the Traralgon to Bairnsdale line as a permanent solution to the safety issue.
Mr Mulder said that once V/Line’s Bairnsdale line works had finished, Metro would use the rail grinder on its 15 line Melbourne metropolitan network to grind out minor rail defects, increasing longevity of the tracks.
Mr Taifalos reminded Gippslanders to be vigilant around level crossings now that works were about to begin.
“From the end of September 2013, residents will see renewed activity between Traralgon and Bairnsdale. I ask all motorists, heavy vehicle drivers and pedestrians to be alert around level crossings – slow down, obey signage and be prepared to stop,” Mr Taifalos said.
“Track machinery and test trains will be operating at any time of day or night so people need to be alert at all times. Risky behavior around level crossings at any time can cost lives.
“I thank the Gippsland community for their patience while V/Line has worked to return passenger trains to Rosedale, Sale, Stratford and Bairnsdale. V/Line looks forward to running trains on the line for decades to come.”
Deputy Premier and Minister for Regional and Rural Development Peter Ryan and Minister for Public Transport Terry Mulder today announced the appointment of urban designers to undertake the $300,000 Ballarat Station precinct master planning study.
Mr Ryan said urban design specialists SJB Urban had been awarded the contract to undertake the study on behalf of the Victorian Coalition Government and the City of Ballarat
“This study will create a vision for the renewal of the precinct – a place that is vibrant, commercially successful and meets the needs of Ballarat residents and businesses as well as commuters, visitors and the broader community,” Mr Ryan said.
“As the welcome point for visitors arriving to Ballarat by train, the master plan will strive to deliver a gateway worthy of one of Victoria’s fastest growing regional cities.”
Mr Mulder said the site has potential that could be unlocked through the intelligent planning of the station and surrounding area.
“The Ballarat Station precinct has all the right ingredients for a successful community hub. It’s close to the CBD, rail and bus services and has significant historic character,” Mr Mulder said.
“Critical to the development of the master plan will be the identification of creative solutions to issues such as parking, growth in public transport patronage and how to strengthen the precinct’s connections to the CBD.
“This master plan will allow the Coalition Government to look at the long-term development of this important precinct.
“Community feedback will be vital in making sure that a range of ideas and solutions are canvassed throughout the study, with Ballarat residents and businesses encouraged to share their views,” Mr Mulder said.
City of Ballarat Mayor John Burt said the approach to seeking community feedback on the master plan will build on the extensive consultation that has been undertaken to date for the Ballarat CBD Strategy.
“The consultation process will include both face to face and online opportunities for the Ballarat community to get involved and help create a clear vision for the precinct,” Cr Burt said.
The project is being managed in partnership between the Department of Transport, Planning and Local Infrastructure; Regional Development Victoria; VicTrack; and the City of Ballarat.
The Coalition Government’s $75,000 contribution to the master plan is being provided through the $1 billion Regional Growth Fund – an eight year investment in regions that will deliver a greater quality of life, new opportunities and increased prosperity to all Victorians.
The master plan is scheduled to be completed by early 2014.
For information on the project visit www.ballarat.vic.gov.au/projects, email BallaratStationPrecinct@ballarat.vic.gov.au or call (03) 5320 5579.
V/Line will install axle counters on the Gippsland line east of Traralgon to ensure that when trains return to service in September, they do so permanently, Deputy Premier and Member for Gippsland South Peter Ryan said today.
Minister for Public Transport Terry Mulder today announced $8 million for the project, ensuring the future of the Gippsland line east of Traralgon.
"V/Line will invest up to $8 million to install axle counter technology at all 32 level crossings along the line," Mr Mulder said.
“Public Transport Victoria has approved V/Line’s plan for a permanent solution to the safety issue that has caused the suspension of train services since late March.”
Mr Ryan said that while the work to install axle counters would take around 12 months to complete, V/Line expected trains to return to service by September.
“V/Line had hoped to reinstate services a lot sooner but it has been unable to secure a rail grinder from New South Wales to carry out the work,” Mr Ryan said.
"Unfortunately another rail grinder will not be available until August. It will then take up to four weeks to complete the work, meaning full train services would return by September.
"While this work continues, V/Line will investigate other potential short term options that could see trains return to service even quicker.
“In the meantime, a program of maintenance work will continue to ensure that the tracks are in the best possible condition the return of trains.”
Mr Ryan called on Labor’s Matt Viney to apologise to Gippsland train travellers for his baseless scaremongering on this matter.
“Matt Viney needs to explain to the Gippsland community why he and his Labor party colleagues made numerous unsubstantiated claims that the Coalition planned to close the train line east of Traralgon. This was never the case,” Mr Ryan said.
“Matt Viney knew V/Line and the Coalition would return services to Gippsland as soon as possible, yet he choose to continue his baseless scare campaign and should apologise.”
Media contact: Steph Nicholls 0437 108 870 email@example.com