News

All aboard extra train services

By Lauren O'Keefe

Seymour and Shepparton are getting new train services.

Regional Development Minister Jaclyn Symes was in Nagambie last week to announce that from April 1 there will be two new daily train services on the Shepparton line, meaning extra trains for Nagambie and the other stops between Seymour and Shepparton.

In the timetable change, the early morning service which currently terminates at Seymour will be extended to Shepparton.

This is due to the completion of track works and train stabling upgrades in Shepparton.

Ms Symes said the new service was the first part of delivering on the Andrews Government promise to provide more train services along the Shepparton line.

‘‘Local passengers have been calling out for more train services and we’re delivering exactly that, giving people more choice when they travel,’’ Ms Symes said.

Also in attendance was V/Line chief executive officer James Pinder who said the train was scheduled to arrive in Shepparton at around 8.45am, making it possible for commuters in smaller towns to catch the train to work in Shepparton instead of driving.

The train will make a return trip to Melbourne mid-morning, significantly reducing the six-hour wait between trains that currently exists for passengers on the Shepparton line.

Ms Symes also announced a new afternoon train service from Melbourne to Seymour will be added to the timetable from April 1.

The new service to Seymour will leave Melbourne at around 4pm.

Mr Pinder said the new train to Seymour will stop at all stations along the route, giving workers who opt for an early start to their day another option for getting home.

New timetables will be available from March 1, a month before the new services start.

Preliminary work has begun for stage two of the Shepparton Line upgrade to allow V/Locity trains on the line for the first time.

During the next few weeks, work crews will dig 22 test pits and drill six bore-holes between Shepparton and Nagambie to conduct soil tests and to gain a better understanding of the ground conditions in the area.

An assessment of the train line between Seymour and Shepparton has also been conducted by specialists in January and February.

They walked more than 80km of the train line to document the general condition of the track and to check on the condition of the sleepers and ballast.

The preliminary work being conducted will help inform the design and construction of stage two which includes level crossing upgrades, signalling and track upgrades and platform extensions.

‘‘With the next stage of works now progressing, passengers have even more to look forward to, with more modern trains and more reliable journeys on the way,’’ Ms Symes said.

It’s estimated the line upgrade and the addition of V/Locity trains will cut 20 minutes from the trip between Melbourne and Shepparton.

The Shepparton Line upgrade is part of the Regional Rail Revival program which is upgrading every regional train line in Victoria.