The replacement of more than 50,000 wood sleepers between Sunbury and Kyneton on Bendigo line is expected to start as part of a track improvement project to allow trains to run at speeds of up to 130 km/h.
“The new sleepers will increase the resilience and longevity of the track, reducing the risk of disruptions caused by infrastructure faults,” the Member for Bendigo East Jacinta Allan said.
V/Line will complete more than AUD 15 million (USD 10.6 million) in works to convert all sleepers in the section to concrete, allowing the track classification to be lifted, increasing the maximum speed which trains can travel by 15 km/h.
The faster speeds will allow trains to recover more quickly from minor delays, while the new sleepers will also increase the resilience and longevity of the track, reducing the risk of disruptions caused by infrastructure faults.
Works will commence this month, with crews taking advantage of pre-scheduled works on other parts of the line to complete daytime works between 13 and 23 August, followed by a series of 10-day blocks of night works to complete the replacements between Sunbury and Kyneton.
More than 70 staff and 25 pieces of track machinery will flood the line each night in order to complete the works as efficiently and safely as possible, minimising disruption to passengers.
The project to modernise the Bendigo Line, which includes the Echuca line upgrade, covers track and station upgrade, the replacement of 12,000 sleepers, the modernisation of the existing stations as well as three new stations at Goornong, Huntly and Raywood which was opened in 2021 and 2022 respectively. Each station has a single-sided platform, seating, shelter and car parking and provides people in these growing communities access to train services close to where they live.
In addition, the upgrade works at the two lines also includes the modernisation of the signalling systems through the introduction of a modernised electronic train order (ETO) system from Bendigo to Swan Hill and Echuca, which will enable additional weekday return services to Epsom and Eaglehawk. The ETO system is delivered and installed by Wabtec which will enable more services from Bendigo to Eaglehawk and Epsom, and triple the number of services to and from Echuca.
Another 10 level crossings between Eaglehawk and Bendigo will also be upgraded with better train detection technology, boosting safety and allowing more services to run in this section.