Victorian election 2018: Fresh rail promises miss Mildura

HUNDREDS of millions of dollars have been committed for rail upgrades by the major parties less than two weeks before the Vitctorian election.

Labor is promising to replace old trains on the Geelong and Ballarat lines at a cost of $340 million if it wins the November 24 election.

Premier Daniel Andrews, Transport Minister Jacinta Allan and local member Gabrielle Williams made the announcement at Bombardier’s Dandenong factory on Wednesday.

Mr Andrews said the order would be made next year, with trains to be delivered by 2021.

The move will support 500 jobs in Victoria’s south-east, which takes in the marginal seats of Cranbourne and Frankston.

The Coalition, meanwhile, is promising to spend an extra $633 million on country rail to replace an ageing fleet of dieselhauled trains with faster, long-haul variants of the V/Locity trains.

Under the Coalition’s plan, an order would be placed next June, with the new fleet to be delivered during the first term of government.

The fleet replacement of 16 new train sets, consisting of 96 rail cars capable of speeds up to 160km/h, would be built in Victoria.

It is expected six-car trains would be able to be configured flexibly where required, to suit longer distance services on the Warrnambool, Shepparton, Albury, Bairnsdale and Swan Hill lines.

But Mildura remains holding on to just an $80 million Coalition commitment to upgrade level crossings on the Mildura rail line that has not been matched by Labor.

It means the region could find itself with the status quo after the election, waiting up to two years for the Murray Basin Rail Project to be finished.

This story appears in Friday's Sunraysia Daily 16/11/2018. To subscribe to our Digital Edition Click here

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