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Inland rail a trifecta for Toowoomba region: mayor
The training of V/Line drivers on the new Bairnsdale railway line has commenced, the Minister for Transport, Peter Batchelor announced today.
Mr Batchelor said the track works were now complete, the line had received safety approval, and an announcement regarding the return of passenger services would be made very soon.
"After a ten year absence, the return of rail services will be a truly historic occasion for Bairnsdale and the wider East Gippsland region," Mr Batchelor said.
"Passenger trains will provide the community with a better, more comfortable and more accessible way to travel. It will also mean a boost for tourism and jobs."
Mr Batchelor said the Government was conducting a railway crossing safety campaign to coincide with the driver training and the imminent return of passenger rail services to the region.
"It's important that people are aware that more trains are operating on the line over the next couple of weeks, and of the need to adopt safe behaviour near the line."
The rail crossing safety campaign consists of print, radio and television advertisements.
"The message in the advertising campaign is clear. Don't put your life on the line. Stop. Look. Listen," Mr Batchelor said.
"It's vital that all members of the community – motorists, cyclists and pedestrians - adopted safe behaviour near rail crossings.
"While the incidence of rail crossing accidents is small, rail crossing injuries are very serious and usually fatal."
The Department of Infrastructure will continue to conduct its rail crossing education program in local primary schools throughout the region.
Department of Infrastructure Education Officer Mary Catus-Wood said the program taught children safe behaviour practices through interactive role-plays. "Rail safety information is also sent home with the children, so that parent are able to reinforce the safety messages within the family," Ms Catus-Wood said.
The upgrade of the Bairnsdale line has involved replacing sleepers and the welding of rail joints on 69 km of track, refurbishing of the 500 metre Avon River railway bridge, and the safety upgrading of seventeen level crossings.
For further information on the Rail Crossing Safety Campaign, please contact (03) 9655 8989.
For further information on the school railway safety lessons, contact Mary Catus-Wood on (03) 9655 6695.
"The return of country passenger rail services and the Regional Fast Rail projects mark the biggest upgrade of regional rail in 120 years," Mr Batchelor said.
"The projects are part of the State Government's Linking Victoria strategy – a $5 billion blueprint to achieve a better, integrated transport system to grow the entire State and better link regional communities with Melbourne."
Victorian Government Press Release
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