• Hannah Phillips

Inland Rail and Regional Rail Revival Agreements Reached

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure and Transport Michael McCormack and Victorian Minister for Public Transport and Major Projects Jacinta Allan have signed a Bilateral Agreement in relation to Inland Rail, making Victoria the first state to sign up to the Inland Rail project.

This agreement includes a commitment to negotiate a new long term lease with the Australian Rail Track Corporation and to support the extension of the corridor to accommodate any changes to the North East Rail Line alignment required to support the delivery of Inland Rail.

On completion, the Inland Rail Project will create a direct rail freight connection between Melbourne and Brisbane capable of moving double stacked freight containers.

Inland Rail will deliver almost $7 billion in additional state gross product through construction and in the first 50 years of operation.

Mr McCormack said this was a great step forward on a project that will create jobs and investment opportunities throughout regional Victoria.

“I’m pleased to reach agreement with Victoria, the first state to get behind Inland Rail which will improve freight travel times for local farmers and producers and support thousands of jobs,” Mr McCormack said.

As part of the Regional Rail Revival program, a joint Victorian Government and Commonwealth Government steering committee was established to look at the work needed to upgrade the North East Line.

The steering committee resolved the $100 million committed was not enough to upgrade the track to run new modern trains, therefore the Commonwealth Government will contribute an additional $135 million to upgrade the track to at least a class 2 standard.

“I am also pleased that in addition to the $1.57 billion Regional Rail Revival package, the Commonwealth will increase its contribution by $135 million to upgrade the North East Rail Line to a class 2 standard to allow faster, modern trains and give communities along the North East line the services they expect and deserve,” Ms Allan said.

The Victorian Government has committed to purchase new trains for the corridor once works on the track are complete.

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