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It's all aboard Victoria's regional rail link as nearly a dozen companies are splashed with $1.6 billion in government contracts to get the project rolling.
"The work is under contract and under way," a jubilant Victorian Premier Ted Baillieu said on Wednesday as he announced half of the six needed contract packages.
"That's a real positive for this region, a positive for the rail project and ... a great positive for the Victorian economy."
The Victorian rail link is considered to be Australia's largest public transport project, with several new stations planned and more than 30km of new track.
Upon completion in early 2016, major regional trains will get their own dedicated lines to ease a bottleneck with metropolitan services that currently squeezes Melbourne's western train stations.
Services from regional centres Geelong, Bendigo and Ballarat will no longer be held up behind city trains. The state government hopes this will increase the network's overall capacity and reliability.
On Wednesday, 11 companies were announced as successful bidders for the three major sections of the project that will include building new stations at West Footscray, Wyndham Vale and Tarneit.
Companies involved include Thiess, Balfour Beatty, UGL and Baulderstone.
The state's public transport providers Metro Trains and V/Line are also involved, as well as the Regional Rail Link Authority itself.
One contract had already been announced earlier this year.
Two more contracts will have to be signed in order to complete the project.
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