High-tech rail upgrades on track for Bendigo and Echuca

A new project is aimed at tripling the number of services to Echuca, connecting passengers to more opportunities within Bendigo and Melbourne.

PASSENGERS in Greater Bendigo are set to get more frequent services, thanks to work underway to introduce new technology on the regional network.

Deputy PM and Infrastructure minister Michael McCormack and Victorian transport Infrastructure minister Jacinta Allan announced V/Line, in conjunction with rail specialists Wabtec, had been awarded the contract to deliver the new electronic train order system from Bendigo to Swan Hill and Echuca.

The deputy PM said the new ETO system is being delivered as part of the Bendigo and Echuca Rail Line Upgrade, a first for the Victorian regional rail network that will allow additional services to both Eaglehawk and Epsom while tripling the number of weekday services to and from Echuca.

“The Australian government’s investment in this cutting-edge technology will not only improve regional rail in Victoria but secure Victoria’s future as we move beyond the COVID-19 pandemic,” McCormack said.

“The new system will deliver much-needed additional services for passengers in and around Greater Bendigo and has the potential to transform the way some of the state’s long-distance lines operate.

“We are investing in critical projects such as this under our record $110 billion infrastructure investment pipeline as part of our world-leading Economic Recovery Plan.”

Ms Allan said passengers on both the Bendigo and Echuca lines would receive huge benefits.

“This project will triple the number of services to Echuca and make those services faster, connecting passengers in these communities to more opportunities for work, education, health and recreation within Bendigo and Melbourne,” Allan said.

The new system is to use on-board telecommunications equipment to identify a train’s position on the network and communicate it electronically to the train controller.

This information is currently shared manually between train drivers and controllers and the new electronic system will allow more trains to safely operate on these sections of track.

Federal member for Nicholls Damian Drum said the ETO system will also provide improved service outcomes for freight by enabling one return service each week between Melbourne and Deniliquin, and Melbourne and Piangil.

State Member for Bendigo West Maree Edwards said this was a great step forward for the local community, with the announcement delivering more trains for Bendigo.

“Passengers right across the Greater Bendigo region will have more services to choose from and more options for travel closer to where they live thanks to these critical upgrades,” Edwards said.

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