Friday, 27 April 2018 08:30

VLocity test run

Train travellers are another step closer to a more modern and reliable service, with a VLocity test train completing a journey to Bairnsdale for the first time on Wednesday morning. The Advertiser was on hand to witness the train’s arrival. The train, in need of a wash, stayed for only a few minutes before departing. Member for Eastern Victoria, Harriet Shing, welcomed the start of VLocity test runs to Bairnsdale, ahead of the fleet’s permanent deployment to the line later this year. Work is also continuing to upgrade level crossings along the line, another essential part of bringing VLocity trains to Bairnsdale. Level crossing upgrades are being delivered as part of a $530 million Gippsland line upgrade. V/Line crews are digging trenches and have started boring at three locations on the line and level crossing signalling equipment is being assembled by technicians. At least seven level crossings between Sale and Bairnsdale will also be upgraded from passive to active to include flashing lights, bells and boom gates.

V/Line is consulting with local communities about the level crossing upgrades, including emergency services, councils and residents along the rail line. The State Government is replacing locomotive-hauled trains on the Bairnsdale line with Victorian-built VLocity trains in August. Two of the three daily return Bairnsdale services will operate with the more modern rolling stock, providing improved comfort for passengers. The first morning train from Bairnsdale and the last evening train from Melbourne to Bairnsdale will continue to be operated by classic fleet trains. Geotechnical drilling to test rock and soil as part of the Gippsland line upgrade is also continuing in preparation for major work, including the Avon River Bridge replacement. Around six boreholes have been dug near the bridge, with the work scheduled to move to other sections of the line over the coming months. “Travellers in East Gippsland will benefit significantly from these much-needed track and structural improvements, and VLocity services to Bairnsdale are a big part of improving the reliability and comfort of the service,” Ms Shing said.