The Victorian Government initiated an upgrade to the existing Shepparton railway line, as part of a massive ongoing revival of the public transport system in Victoria.

The project will feature stabling upgrades and additional coach services for the Shepparton Line. A crossing loop will also be installed to improve the overall reliability of the service.

Shepparton’s rail services have often been recognised as insufficient by the Greater Shepparton Community when compared to other regions around Victoria.

An upgrade of the Shepparton line from Seymour to Shepparton will create better facilities, more frequent services and quicker travel times.

Details of Shepparton Rail upgrade

The project will provide approximately A$45m ($35m) of new improvements, including stabling upgrades, a crossing loop, and extra coaches.

It will deliver a new train stabling facility at Shepparton and a new crossing loop near Murchison East to provide more services to and from Shepparton from 2020.

New coaches will begin operating in early-2019, while timetabling will be determined through community consultation in the coming months.

The proposed project will also introduce an additional 29 coach services between Shepparton and Seymour from mid-2018. The new services will address scheduling gaps in the current timetable and extend services throughout the day.

The Victorian government also invested A$18m ($14m) to improve overall mobile coverage for passengers through the installation of in-train technology and mobile phone towers across the regional rail network.

Railway network construction

Preliminary works of the project include site investigations, environmental assessments, traffic and noise monitoring, soil and rock testing. Tracing underground services commenced in the second quarter of 2018.

The proposed upgrade is expected to be fully constructed by 2020.

Financing details

The upgrade of the Shepparton line and the procurement of new rolling stock is estimated to cost A$186m ($144m).

“The stabling upgrade will facilitate a fifth daily return service between Shepparton and Melbourne, while the crossing loop will allow more trains to pass each other.”

The Victorian Budget 2017-18 outlined an investment of A$311m ($241m) for 39 new VLocity carriages and a major redesign of the VLocity trains to enable long-haul services on regional routes, including the Shepparton line.

The budget also allocated A$12.5m ($9.7m) to refurbish V/Line’s classic train fleet and A$316.4m ($245m) in maintenance funding to replace sleepers, fix tracks and deliver nuts-and-bolts work on the regional rail system, including the Shepparton line.

The investments will upgrade every regional passenger line in the Victoria region by delivering more reliable services for passengers across the state.

Contractors involved with Shepparton rail upgrade

GHD and John Hearsch Consulting were contracted to provide operational analysis and cost estimates for the upgrade of Shepparton railway.

SGS Economics and Planning was selected to identify the financial and non-financial economic benefits of the passenger rail service upgrade project.

The Melbourne Metro Rail Authority (MMRA) and V/Line will execute the Shepparton Line upgrade on behalf of the Victorian Government.

Benefits of the upgrade

The stabling upgrade will facilitate a fifth daily return service between Shepparton and Melbourne, while the crossing loop will allow more trains to pass each other.

The project is expected to minimise infrastructure costs in the region and enable a balanced spatial development in Victoria.

The Regional Rail Revival programme will further create opportunities for local suppliers to generate jobs, develop industry skills and grow local economies, through the Local Jobs First Victorian Industry Participation Policy (VIPP).