Federal funding is set to flow to the North East Rail Line thanks to formal approval of its $235 million commitment to flow to the Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC) to deliver the project, another key milestone toward getting the major upgrade up and running.

Deputy Prime Minister, Nationals’ Leader and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development Michael McCormack said the project will make V/Line services more reliable, journeys smoother for customers and help reduce the causes of major delays to passenger services.

“This investment is big news for the North East Victorian community as it will enable V/Line to introduce new, faster and more reliable ‘VLocity’ trains capable of speed of up to 130 kilometres per hour,” Mr McCormack said.

“It will do this by upgrading the line to achieve Victorian Class 2 performance standard, which will in turn improve the reliability and ride quality of passenger services along the lines.

“Today’s announcement is a key step in confirming the Australian Government’s commitment to getting this project delivered.

“This follows detailed review of the scope of works by the Institute of Railway Technology at Monash University, which has confirmed that it will deliver the track quality the community expect.”

The scope of works will meet the Class 2 Performance Standard needed to deliver the new VLocity rolling stock.

“It is absolutely critical now the commitments to deliver on the rolling stock, which are the responsibility of the Victorian Government, are followed through with.” Mr McCormack said.

Multiple review and endorsement processes were undertaken by agencies including Transport for Victoria, Rail Projects Victoria, Public Transport Victoria, V/Line, the Federal Department of Infrastructure, Regional Development and Cities as well as the Australian Rail Track Corporation.

“This project is an extremely important investment in better-connecting the region and directly tackles the various causes of cancellations and delays such as track condition, signalling faults, passenger delays and rolling stock maintenance.”

The North East Line upgrade is part of the $1.57 billion committed to deliver upgrades to every regional Victorian Line, funding more than 90 per cent of all upgrades being delivered or in planning.

Ongoing community engagement is also a key focus for the project and critical to ensuring the work is delivered successfully. Opportunities to provide feedback on the project will be provided through community pop ups and other events over coming weeks and months.

“These works will be delivered by the ARTC in a coordinated way with the upgrades needed for the Inland Rail, which are scheduled for delivery over a similar time frame,” Mr McCormack said.

“We are investing more than $9.3 billion in the Inland Rail, which uses the North East corridor for the southern part of the 1,700 km journey that will also help to transform regional businesses in northern Victoria, allowing freight to be delivered to market more efficiently.”

More information on the project is available here – construction is expected to start in early 2019, with completion by mid-2021.