The Australian Government has signed a joint venture with Kellogg Brown and Root (KBR) and Arup to finish the final planning work for Victoria state’s $4bn railway project.

The project, called Regional Rail Link, involves building a 50km new rail network to link West Werribee and Southern Cross.

The railway is expected to benefit Geelong, Ballarat and Bendigo V/Line services and increase fleet capacity on the Werribee, Craigieburn and Sunbury suburban rail lines.

The project has been jointly funded by the Federal and Victorian governments with $3.2bn from the Rudd Labour Government and $1.1bn from the Brumby Labor Government.

Initial works on the Southern Cross Station began in August, while full scale construction is expected to begin in 2010.