TRAINS are expected to return to service between Traralgon and Bairnsdale by the end of October with rail grinding works set begin next month.
Deputy Premier and Gippsland South MLA Peter Ryan said V/Line expected the rail grinder to arrive from Austria at the Port of Melbourne on Thursday, September 19 with work to begin on Tuesday, September 24.
“The rail grinding machine will re-profile 60 kilometres of rail at all 32 level crossing approaches between Bairnsdale and Traralgon, which will take three weeks to complete,” Mr Ryan said.
Mr Ryan said on completion of this work, V/Line would run several test locomotives to determine the reliability of the level crossing equipment.
“When the testing is successfully completed V/Line will advise the community of the date passenger trains will return,” he said.
Mr Ryan said V/Line was currently installing more than 20,000 concrete sleepers to replace timber sleepers on sections of the line between Traralgon and Bairnsdale, which will improve the line’s reliability when trains return.
“The Victorian Coalition Government has also provided $8 million for the installation of axle counters to detect trains at the 32 level crossings between Bairnsdale and Traralgon as a long term solution to the rust build up.
“These counters detect approaching trains so the crossing warnings can operate for the required number of seconds before a train passes each crossing.”
In the meantime, V/Line continues to provide replacement road coaches including an express road coach from Bairnsdale and Stratford to Southern Cross Station in Melbourne.