Public Transport Victoria forum hears call for more Maryborough train services
State Government Commits to Developing Rail Infrastructure for Victoria
Horsham residents to be quizzed about future use of dormant rail corridor land
No choppers here: Malcolm Turnbull takes the train to Geelong
Opposition Leader Matthew Guy backs Melbourne Airport rail link
Jail time for train threats to Vline Staff
Premier Daniel Andrews hears efforts to address Central Goldfields disadvantage, push for more Maryborough trains
The Inland Rail Link Melbourne to Brisbane a Similar Case as the RAA's Bendigo - Geelong Rail Link
North-West Rail Alliance urges more council support amid push for return of Mildura passenger rail
Grampians Rail Trail: Shire calls for community to step up and manage facility
THE $440 million Murray Basin Rail project has run out of steam and funding, with Transport Infrastructure Minister Jacinta Allan forced to wind back the troubled project.
Work was due to start on upgrading and converting the Sea Lake and Manangatang lines from broad to narrower standard-gauge track next month.
But Ms Allan said inspections of both lines by Rail Project Victoria staff had shown the Manangatang line was heavily degraded and in desperate need of repair.
“There are parts of the line that are almost non-existent,” Ms Allan said. “V/Line said if you don’t do some urgent work on the Manangatang line we will be forced to close before the coming grain season.
“Faced with that … I’ve decided we have to keep it open.”
About $23 million will now be spent on repairing the track.
When The Weekly Times questioned why work to fully upgrade and standardise both lines could not be done now, rather than patching up the track now and having to come back to do the full job at a later date, Ms Allan said she was
advised the condition of the track was so poor that the complete upgrade would take too long.
“We wouldn’t be able to get it done before the grain season,” she said.
Ms Allan also revealed the $23 million would eat up the last of the $440 million that both the state and federal governments had committed to the project. “With the investment in Manangatang most of the $440 million has been invested,” she said.
The minister said the Victorian Government would now have to revisit the business case for the Murray Basin Rail Project and “talk to the Federal Government to progress the next stage”.
She said she could appreciate that it would be frustrating for grain producers who wanted to see the project completed. It’s the second time upgrades to the Manangatang and Sea Lake lines have been delayed, with Ms Allan forced to suspend work last year, due to delays in upgrading the Maryborough to Ararat line, which also proved to be in far poorer condition than detailed in the original business case.
At the time rail industry insiders told The Weekly Times project management was taken out of V/Line’s hands and passed on to Rail Projects Victoria because of its poor performance.
Victorian Nationals leader Peter Walsh said Ms Allan had tried to blame everyone but herself for bungling the project.
“Under Jacinta Allan’s watch, there’s been a $100 million blow out on the Mildura line stage; the Maryborough-Ararat works have been hampered by the use of second-hand rail line, broken welds and slow speeds; and now Stage 3 is indefinitely on hold because the Andrews Government claims it’s run out of money,” Mr Walsh said.
“Daniel Andrews and Jacinta Allan are pouring money into metro transport infrastructure cost blowouts — they have been able to find billions for cost blowouts on level crossing removals in Melbourne — but they treat regional Victorians like second class citizens.”
Opposition transport infrastructure spokesman David Davis said the Coalition had written to the Victorian Auditor General last calling for an investigation into the troubled project.
“Under Labor the project is now at a standstill — incomplete and out of money,” Mr Davis said.
“Labor has been in Government for 16 of the last 20 years and ran out of excuses long ago.”
About this website
Railpage version 3.10.0.0037
All logos and trademarks in this site are property of their respective owner. The comments are property of their posters, all the rest is © 2003-2019 Interactive Omnimedia Pty Ltd.
You can syndicate our news using one of the RSS feeds.