Australia’s Victorian Government has officially opened its A$3.65bn ($2.8bn) Regional Rail Link, with the final section of the project through Tarneit and Wyndham Vale scheduled to be opened for commuters on 21 June.
The Regional Rail Link paves way for more commuter rail services in regional centres and in Melbourne’s west.
The project removed major bottlenecks in Victoria’s rail network, as well as increased capacity for passengers in Melbourne’s west and Victoria’s major regional centres of Geelong, Ballarat and Bendigo.
The project included the construction of 90km of new track, five new or upgraded stations, 13 grade separations, two level crossing removals and improvements to cycling and civic infrastructure across Melbourne’s west.
Australia’s Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure and Regional Development Warren Truss said: "The Regional Rail Link has expanded Victoria’s rail network by laying 50km of dedicated dual track and 40km of single track from West Werribee through to Southern Cross Station.
"The completion of this project has seen regional rail services separated from metropolitan rail services, providing additional capacity for passengers across the rail network.
"It has also provided an economic boost for Victoria, with an injection of $1bn annually into the Victorian economy during construction and the creation of 3,500 construction jobs."
The project was funded jointly by the Australian and Victorian Governments, which respectively invested $A2.7bn and $A931m.
Premier of Victoria Daniel Andrews said: "Commuters will be able to spend more time at home and less time waiting for transport with trains running every ten minutes for Geelong commuters throughout peak periods.
"Regional Rail Link transforms our train network, delivering more frequent, reliable trains to Melbourne’s booming west and Victoria’s major regional centres."
The Regional Rail Link is Victoria’s first new major rail line in 80 years and has been delivered ahead of schedule and under budget.
Image: Route of the Regional Rail Link in orange. Photo: courtesy of JohnnoShadbolt via Wikipedia.