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The government revealed the delay on Thursday but imposed a media embargo on reporting the news until 6am Friday.
Public Transport Minister Jacinta Allan said in a statement that: "If RRL was introduced in April, as the former Coalition government had planned, any delay in rolling stock delivery or train faults would mean service cancellations and chaos for commuters."
The link has been built to relieve serious rail congestion in Melbourne's west, by giving V/Line trains from Geelong, Ballarat and Bendigo their own dedicated paths in and out of the city.
The separation of Metro and V/Line trains will also create capacity for extra metropolitan services, particularly along the chronically overcrowded Werribee line, because the line will no longer be shared with Geelong services.
The project commenced under the former Brumby government, with more than $3 billion funding from the former Rudd government, but was mostly built under the Coalition.
A fleet of 43 new VLocity train carriages, ordered by the Coalition government, are currently being manufactured by Bombardier in Dandenong. The first of those three-car trains entered service in October.
This article first appeared on www.theage.com.au
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