Posted on 07. Jul, 2010 in Victoria

Passengers on Victoria’s booming regional rail will benefit from a new train which rolled-off the production line today, bringing the number of VLocity seats added to the regional rail network to over 7400 in the past four years.

At Bombardier’s Dandenong plant today, Premier John Brumby inspected the first new full three-carriage VLocity train built as part of the Victorian Government’s $236 million regional train order which is undergoing the final stages of commissioning before it enters service later this week.

Mr Brumby said the new train built on 102 extra VLocity carriages already in service on the regional rail network which had also been built at Bombardier, providing the company with a forward works program that is delivering job security for its 130 employees.

The Government has ordered 134 VLocity carriages for the regional rail network, with 102 in service and all carriages expected to be rolled-out by October 2011, adding an extra 9760 seats and almost doubling the total number of seats on the network in 1999.

“Our Government is determined to support families living and working in regional and rural Victoria and we understand how important high quality transport connections are to their liveability and prosperity,” Mr Brumby said.

“We also understand that nothing is more important to Victorian families than job security and that’s why we are investing in job-securing projects like new trains for our regional rail network.

“Since we completed the Regional Fast Rail project there has been a renaissance in regional rail and today more people than ever before are travelling on our regional trains. That’s why we are making the right investments now to plan for growth on the regional rail network.”

Mr Brumby said the increased patronage reflected investments the Government had made in upgrading tracks, delivering new trains, re-opening train lines and increasing services to major regional centres including Ballarat, Bendigo, Geelong, Latrobe Valley and Seymour.

Patronage in the five years to 2008/09 increased by 89.8 per cent and now more than one million trips are made on the regional rail network each month. A record 12 million passenger trips were made in 2008/09 and every indication is that 2009/2010 will surpass that figure.

“We returned services to Ararat and Bairnsdale and later this month rail services will be returned to Maryborough after they were closed by the Kennett Government in the early 1990s,” he said.

“And early works have begun on the $4.3 billion Regional Rail Link project, which will provide up to 50 kilometres of new tracks to free-up regional services so they run directly into Melbourne.

Industry Minister Jacinta Allan said the VLocity fleet order was great for jobs.

“The investments being made by our Government are providing Bombardier employees which job security and importantly delivering securing for hundreds of people in Bombardier’s local supply chain, which includes more than 90 Victorian businesses, about 72 of which are in Melbourne’s south east,” Ms Allan said.

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