Covering the Goulburn and Murray valleys

Level crossings solution in sight

Level crossing upgrades to the Echuca-Bendigo line may be completed next month.

REBECCA KERR August 30, 2014 3:05am

A 2011 Victorian Government promise of level crossing upgrades to slash rail travel times for Echuca commuters may finally be complete next month.

The original $5.6million project was due to finish last year and included upgrades to 13 level crossings between Bendigo and Echuca.

In 2011, Public Transport Minister Terry Mulder announced upgrades would allow trains to run at the increased speed of 100km/h along the 87km of track, saving Echuca commuters about 13 minutes’ travel time.

Work to the line continues a year after the estimated completion.

A spokesperson for Mr Mulder said the original 13 crossings had been completed, but two extra crossings were undergoing upgrades with the last due to be commissioned next month.

‘‘The program to upgrade the 15 high-risk level crossings is expected to be completed in the coming weeks,’’ she said.

‘‘The final crossing (Wakeham Rd in Huntly) is scheduled for commission by the end of September.

‘‘These upgrades significantly reduce the risk at level crossings along the line.

‘‘V/Line will review opportunities for possible line speed improvements as part of its overall asset management program.’’

It will be some time before commuters will benefit from any speed increases as V/Line evaluates works required on the line.

This week, technicians assessed work needed, including adding a farm gate to an unnamed road level crossing outside of Echuca.

The Echuca and Huntly sites will be the last crossing upgrades and are expected to be commissioned in September.

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