Victoria, Australia will receive funds for a $4.3bn regional rail express project for improving services across the V-Line and metropolitan rail networks to meet the needs of its increasing population.

The project involves the construction of a 40km-long dual track link from West Werribee to Deer Park through central Melbourne’s Southern Cross station via Sunshine and new stations at Tarneit and Wyndham Vale.

In addition the project will include activating and lengthening of platforms 15 and 16 at Southern Cross station, duplication of existing tracks between Sunshine and Kensington and four grade separations will also be carried out.

The Federal Government will fund $3.2bn for the new dual-track link which separates V-Line regional services from metro rail services, while The Australian Government will fund $40m towards planning, design and engineering works for Melbourne’s East West rail tunnel.

The East West rail tunnel will accommodate 120 additional trains during peak periods everyday or an additional 84,000 passengers. This tunnel is expected to start in 2012 and be completed by 2018.

The project will accommodate an additional 9,000 passengers per hour. It targets Victoria’s growing population which is expected to increase by half a million in 30 years.

Works to upgrade platforms at Southern Cross station will start by August 2009 and the new track construction work will begin by 2010 after submitting plans to reserve the land.