Victorian budget 2017: more new trams and trains on the way

Victorian budget 2017: more new trams and trains on the way
Alastair TaylorMay 2, 2017

Yesterday's budget contained a not-so-insignificant amount allocated to the procurement of more rail vehicles for both the tram network and the regional V/Line network.

$218.1 million has been set aside to order 10 more E-class trams on top of the 20 that were announced and ordered in last year's budget.

The tranche of 50 E-class trams that were from the original order have now all been delivered and Bombardier are now working on the next tranche of 20.

Introducing the E-class trams has seen both the Southbank and Preston depots upgraded and expanded to house the larger vehicles. Budget documents released yesterday mention that the money allocated will also be used to further upgrade existing network infrastructure.

Foreshadowed through the planning and tendering process for the level crossing removal projects, a price tag for the new stabling facility at Kananook has surfaced: $187.4 million.

As part of the Carrum level crossing removal project, which is set to have a new elevated viaduct and station built, the existing train stabling yards have to be removed and will be relocated to Kananook.

On the regional rail network, Bombardier is set to receive another order for more VLocity train sets as the Victorian Government has allocated $311.1 million for 39 new carriages.

First introduced for the regional fast rail project over a decade ago, VLocity trains have evolved over time from being two-carriage trains at the beginning, to now where all new train sets are configured with two power cars and a trailer car.

Each new VLocity train (three carriages) have 220 seats and the 39 new carriages will translate into 13 new train sets, on top of the nine train sets that were funded and ordered in last year's budget.

At present, V/Line trains to Albury operate over the interstate standard gauge network and yesterday's budget has allocated funds to plan for the introduction of new rolling stock for this specific line. No doubt this will be a sub-fleet of VLocity trains, configured for the standard gauge network.

Victorian budget 2017: more new trams and trains on the way
A VLocity train at Southern Cross. Image Marcus Wong

Planning for the upgrade to the Hurstbridge line beyond the works already announced and budgeted for (tunnel duplication between Heidelberg and Rosanna as well as the Lower Plenty Road level crossing removal) was also allocated $5 million in yesterday's budget. This second upgrade is likely to plan for the works involved in duplicating the rail line beyond Greensborough toward Eltham.

To view more of the initiatives announced yesterday as part of the Treasurer's speech, see the website.

Lead image credit: Wikipedia

Alastair Taylor

Alastair Taylor is a co-founder of Now a freelance writer, Alastair focuses on the intersection of public transport, public policy and related impacts on medium and high-density development.

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