Upgrades continue on Gippsland rail line

Almost seven kilometres of new track was laid as part of upgrades to the Gippsland Line in January. Photo: Contributed

MAJOR upgrades to the Gippsland Line in January saw almost seven kilometres of new track installed while trains weren’t running, according to the state government.

The improvements were undertaken while Metro Tunnel works were carried out in Melbourne, which saw coaches replace trains.

As part of the upgrades, a crew of almost 700 people worked more than 94,000 hours installing new track at Garfield, Bunyip, Longwarry and Morwell.

About 25,000 cubic metres of fill and ballast – equivalent to the capacity of 10 Olympic-sized swimming pools – was excavated to allow new ballast and track to be laid.

Crews removed ballast and track at Bunyip, Longwarry and Morwell stations, and the Hope Street and McIntyre Road level crossings, and completed formation works including earthworks, drainage, stabilisation and excavation to build the new track.

Line replacement works taking place at Bunyip station during January.
Photo: Contributed

Work is continuing at Traralgon Station to commission the lifts and finalise paths to the new overpass and stairs to ensure it is safe for pedestrians, with the overpass scheduled to open next month. Major construction of the station upgrades is complete, with station precinct works to be finished in the coming months.

V/Line staff and contractors also completed extensive maintenance along the Gippsland Line while trains weren’t running, including replacing the bridge deck over the Bunyip River and improvements to the machines that allow trains to change tracks in the stabling area near Traralgon Station.

Crews also replaced and repaired drainage under the track at Sale, Montgomery and Stratford, while a special machine that improves the condition of the rail ran along the length of the line.

“We’ve been working around the clock to get as much done as possible while coaches replaced trains for Metro Tunnel works,” Regional Rail Revival director Mark Havryluk said.

“Now the track upgrades are done, we’re putting the finishing touches on our upgraded stations and completing the signalling design before the new signalling system begins operating later this year.”

The new signalling system is being installed with the aim of introducing additional services and future-proofing the line.

Further disruptions will take place for commissioning, safety testing and driver training to enable much-needed extra services between the peaks between Traralgon and Melbourne.