THE last train will travel over the existing Avon River rail bridge in Stratford on Friday, November 27, as preparations are underway to complete the new rail bridge ahead of schedule.
Trains are set to begin using the new bridge in early December following a construction blitz to get it ready for operation.
Coaches will replace Bairnsdale trains for all or part of the journey from Saturday, November 28, to Sunday, December 6 while works are underway to get the new bridge ready for use.
During the construction blitz, crews will work about 3500 hours to complete the track and signalling works needed to connect the new bridge
to the rail line, as well as removing sections of old railway track and sleepers and undertaking landscaping works.
The McAlister St level crossing near the new bridge will also be upgraded to feature boom gates and a pedestrian crossing, improving safety for passengers, motorists and pedestrians.
Construction of the new bridge is close to completion, with the final pairs of the new bridge’s massive 60-tonne beams soon to be lifted into place and the walls attached.
More than 1100 tonnes of concrete have been poured to form the bridge deck, and more than 15,000 cubic metres of earth moved to make its new embankments.
The new bridge will allow trains to travel at up to 90 kilometres per hour in this section, a vast improvement on the current 10kmh speed limit in place on the existing bridge.
The new bridge over the Avon River is being delivered as part of the Gippsland Line Upgrade, which will enable more frequent and reliable services for passengers by duplicating track, extending the Morwell crossing loop, upgrading level crossings and signalling and adding second platforms at four stations along the line.
With coaches replacing trains between November 28 and December 6, passengers are being advised to plan ahead for their journeys and book tickets in advance, as coach departure times may vary.
A V/Line spokesperson said there would be different service patterns on different days because of works in the metropolitan area, so travellers should download a copy of the temporary timetable from the V/Line website to plan their journeys.
Passengers can find more at vline.com.au or by phoning 1800 800 007.