V/Line opens tenders for rail return

A PERMANENT fix to the level crossing safety issue on the Bairnsdale line is another step closer as V/Line continues preparations to return trains to service.

V/Line has advertised for tenders to install axle counter technology at 32 level crossings between Traralgon and Bairnsdale.

The installation of axle counters will permanently address the safety concerns with level crossings that prompted the suspension of trains east of Traralgon in late March.

V/Line chief executive Theo Taifalos said the installation of axle counters, already in place on the Bendigo line, was a long term solution to level crossing safety concerns.

Final plans are being drawn up for the short term solution which is to grind and re-profile rails up to one kilometre either side of the 32 level crossings.

“A grinder is being shipped to Australia to work on the Gippsland line in September so that the full train timetable can resume safely,” Mr Taifalos said.

“Axle counter technology is already used on our network and has proven reliable and safe. We know this presents the best solution to the train detection issue at level crossings that prompted the suspension of trains.

“I’d like to thank our customers and the Gippsland community for their patience as we prepare for the return of trains to Bairnsdale.”

Tenders close July 19 and the contract is expected to be awarded in August. The installation of the system will take around 12 months.