Local and international market interest sought for Geelong Fast Rail

Plans are afoot for a faster rail service between Geelong and Melbourne.

AN INDUSTRY search to help deliver faster rail services for Geelong has reportedly drawn “a significant pool of interested businesses” and specialist suppliers from Melbourne to Madrid.

Federal urban infrastructure minister Paul Fletcher and Victorian transport infrastructure minister Jacinta Allan announced that since February, more than 70 international, national and local organisations had flagged interest in building or financing stage one of Geelong Fast Rail.

The strong response comes as part of an ongoing registrations of interest process for the project, which aims to cut travel times between Geelong and Melbourne to around 50 minutes.

Minister Fletcher said this was great news for this much needed project, which would involve significant infrastructure upgrades to part of the Geelong corridor over several years.

“The Geelong Fast Rail is one of many critical infrastructure projects to receive funding from the Morrison Government as part of its record $110 billion, 10-year infrastructure pipeline,” Fletcher said.

“Our government is committing $2 billion to help kick-start this much-needed project, which will deliver more frequent and faster rail services and help commuters travelling between Geelong and Melbourne get home sooner and safer.”

Minister Paul Fletcher

Registered organisations include those in the fields of construction, engineering and rail systems, while other specialties include architecture and finance.

They include locally based operations in Geelong and Melbourne, with others based interstate or internationally in countries such as Spain, Singapore and South Korea.

Minister Allan said it was great to see the response from both local and international companies.

“This early market sounding is really important for projects of this scale, providing a level of confidence when the time comes to competitively procure contractors and seek out suppliers for potential partnerships,” Allan said.

“More than 2,800 jobs are expected to be supported through the first stage of Geelong Fast Rail, which will help to give Victoria’s fastest-growing regional city the better rail service it deserves.”

Rail Projects Victoria is also seeking a technical advisor to support the project with engineering, communications and stakeholder engagement activities, as it progresses with detailed planning work to refine the project’s scope, timing and expected cost.

An extensive site investigations program is also expected to start later this year, to better understand existing ground conditions along the rail corridor.

There are two rail corridors to Geelong: one via Werribee and one via Wyndham Vale, Tarneit and Sunshine.

The Werribee corridor is around eight kilometres shorter and has been selected as the route for faster Geelong services.

Construction on the first stage of Geelong Fast Rail is expected to start in 2023 subject to relevant Federal and State planning, environmental and government approvals.

A total of $4 billion has been allocated towards the project, comprising $2 billion each from the Victorian and Commonwealth governments.

The first stage of Geelong Fast Rail supports faster services and complements a series of other investments along the Geelong Line to increase the capacity, reliability and frequency of services.

These include the Waurn Ponds Station upgrade, Waurn Ponds stabling facility and South Geelong to Waurn Ponds Duplication.

More information is available at: railprojects.vic.gov.au/geelong-fast-rail

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