Australia’s Victorian Government has sought expressions of interest (EOIs) from interested contractors to deliver the second stage of the South Geelong to Waurn Ponds rail upgrade.

The project involves duplicating 8km of railway track and upgrading signalling system from South Geelong to Waurn Ponds, creating jobs in the southwestern region of the state.

Once complete, the project will help in increasing the frequency of train services for South Geelong, Marshall and Waurn Ponds passengers.

The project is part of the larger programme that is investing more than A$1bn ($760m) to upgrade railway infrastructure between Geelong and Waurn Ponds.

Australian Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development Michael McCormack said: “It is exciting to see this important project out to market, bringing us one step closer to delivering critical upgrades to boost the number of train services on the Geelong line and help create jobs.

“Geelong’s population is expected to grow by almost 50% in the next 30 years and the Geelong line is the busiest line on the regional network with patronage nearly doubling since 2009. This project will help meet the needs of this growing city.”

The project will also include the removal of level crossings at Fyans Street and Surf Coast Highway.

Victoria’s transport infrastructure minister Jacinta Allan said: “Removing these congested level crossings is a huge win for the community – it means less time waiting at boom gates and increased safety for road users, as well as an opportunity to improve the surrounding area with shared user paths, landscaping and other community amenities.”

The EOI process is due to close in March.