Major construction begins on Warrnambool Line Upgrade

Improved reliability and more frequent rail services are a step closer for residents in South West Victoria, with work starting this week on signalling upgrades and a crossing loop as part of the Warrnambool Line Upgrade.

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development Michael McCormack and the Victorian Minister for Transport Infrastructure Jacinta Allan welcomed the start of the major package of works for the Warrnambool Line.

“It’s pleasing to see this vital project get underway, with signalling upgrades and a crossing loop at Boorcan to play a key part in boosting reliability of the line and allowing more services to be introduced,” Mr McCormack said.

“The addition of the crossing loop will boost the number of services to the line, benefiting a growing number of regional travellers.

“We continue to roll out this type of project nationwide under our $100 billion infrastructure investment pipeline, which is supporting jobs and communities at a time when it’s needed most.”

Crews are kicking off construction by installing underground cabling to support signalling upgrades along the line.

Work on the 2.2-kilometre crossing loop between Boorcan Road and Oswell Road in Boorcan will begin in coming weeks.

Victorian Minister for Transport Infrastructure Jacinta Allan said the works will allow for more frequent and reliable services.

“Thanks to these upgrades, passengers on the Warrnambool Line will benefit from a much-needed fifth weekday return service, providing extra travel options for people in Victoria’s South West,” Ms Allan said.

“The Warrnambool Line is an important part of our regional network and passengers will reap the rewards when work is completed in late 2021.”

“Works will be carried out under strict protocols to protect workers and the community from the spread of coronavirus, with modified working conditions in place so that work can be done safely.”

Contractor Downer has implemented a COVIDSafe Plan, which includes limiting the number of people on site and strict guidelines for workers to follow regarding site access.

Passengers and road users will also benefit from improved safety on the line, with construction now complete on 12 level crossing upgrades. 

Federal Member for Wannon Dan Tehan said the Australian Government investment of $226 Million into the Warrnambool Line Upgrade was another great example of the Australian Government investing in Victorian infrastructure to strengthen and build regional economies.

Mr Tehan said the final three level crossing upgrades at Armytage Road in Winchelsea, Bourke’s Road in Warncoort and Station Road in Pirron Yallock were completed last week and now feature boom gates, bells, lights and better train detection technology. 

“Nine level crossing upgrades on the line were completed earlier this year,” Mr Tehan said.

“More than 170 workers have been involved in the level crossing upgrades since works began in January, with V/Line crews working around 28,500 hours under modified conditions to reduce the spread of coronavirus.”

State Member for Western Victoria Gayle Tierney said the level crossing removals and line upgrades would make access to jobs and important services much easier.

“It’s exciting to see all 12 level crossings now in operation, completing the first step in the upgrade towards better services on the Warrnambool Line,” Ms Tierney said.

“With work on signalling and the crossing loop now underway residents can soon expect more frequent services and better reliability.

“This project is also providing jobs for people in the region, which is especially important during the coronavirus pandemic.”

The upgrade forms part of the Australian and Victorian governments’ investment of more than $2 billion in the Regional Rail Revival, which is upgrading every passenger rail line in the state and creating more than 1,000 jobs.

The Warrnambool Line Upgrade is jointly funded by the Australian Government, which is committing $226.2 million, and the Victorian Government, which is investing $25.4 million.