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

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.

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 budget.vic.gov.au website.

Lead image credit: Wikipedia

5 comments

Aussie Steve's picture

If only more money was allocated to building more accessible tram stops, especially in easy fix areas such as the CBD, South Melbourne and North Melbourne streets and Wellington Pde, St Kilda Road, Kings Way, Brighton Road, Lygon Street, Royal Pde etc...

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Michael Berquez's picture

Can you give examples and why Aussie Steve? I've found most tram stops in inner melbourne to be VERY accessible.

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johnproctor's picture

I just don't think they are a vote winner so they aren't funded.

even on those 'easy' locations the response is generally 'trams v cars' whether it be a traffic lane or parking lane reduction and despite their philosophical position on the matter Greens candidates and councillors often oppose tram works on the basis of 'local interest' (1 trader/voter losing their parking space).

Hopefully its works out well in the end and by the time these routes are upgraded its so damn obvious what needs to be done they go through the process in a straightforward manner with better outcomes than have been achieved in the past.

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johnproctor's picture

Michael

La Trobe Street and William Street don't have accessible stops and they're in the Hoddle Grid!

Royal Parade past the Royal Melbourne Hospital.

3 or 4 stops outstanding on St Kilda Road near Toorak Road West .

Route 96 (which does still have funding sitting htere for stop upgrades) which is the busiest route in Melbourne.

Route 86 through Smith Street Collingwood which doesn't have kerbside clearways so could easily have kerb outstand stops built to match the new E-Class trams on it.

and the list goes on.

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Aussie Steve's picture

Thanks JP for your reply.

There are hundreds of tram stops throughout Melbourne Michael, that are not accessible and the State Government needs to get its act together and provide easy access for all, otherwise what is the point in purchasing more low-floor trams if they aren't accessible?

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