The Andrews Labor Government’s plans to remove every level crossing between Dandenong and the city will have significant benefits for passengers from eastern Victoria.

Premier Daniel Andrews and Minister for Public Transport, Jacinta Allan, recently unveiled the $1.6 billion Caulfield to Dandenong package of the Level Crossing Removal Project, which will remove nine level crossings on the Cranbourne Pakenham line – and turn the Gippsland line into Melbourne’s and Victoria’s busiest.

As Gippsland services depend upon the Cranbourne-Pakenham line, the removal of these crossings will improve the safety and reliability of Bairnsdale and Traralgon services and create space to run more trains.

Crucially, this project will also be built to enable third and fourth tracks to be laid in the future, to deliver faster, more reliable and more frequent services to and from stations across Gippsland.

Meanwhile, peak hour services to and from Pakenham to improve to Gippsland passengers while work to restore full services continues.

From next Monday, 15 February, two additional morning and evening peak train services will run between Pakenham and Flinders Street stations, and be will timetabled to connect with V/Line coaches.

These free extra services will give Gippsland passengers the option of staying on the coach all the way into town in the morning, or changing to a Metro train at Pakenham. In the evening, passengers can either catch a coach all the way home, or jump on the train to Pakenham and interchange.

Work to install track detection devices on metropolitan level crossings used by Gippsland services is underway and expected to be complete by mid-March.

These detectors will allow restrictions on V/Locity trains to be lifted, meaning more trains to and from Traralgon.

Investigations to isolate the cause of the wheel wear issues affecting V/Locity carriages are ongoing, as is the accelerated wheel maintenance regime, which will get trains safely back on the network as soon as possible.

Further information about these investigations and the timetable for V/Line services, beyond the next five weeks, will be provided by mid-March.

Importantly, free travel on train-replacement coaches will continue until at least that time.

Quotes attributable to Member for Eastern Victoria, Harriet Shing

“The Andrews Labor Government’s $1.6 billion plan to remove every level crossing between Dandenong and the city will have big benefits for passengers and drivers from eastern Victoria.”

“The project will deliver more reliable Gippsland services, and crucially, it includes space for extra tracks to be laid in the future.

“In the interim, we’re doing everything we can to improve services, while we work around the clock to safely restore the services Gippsland passengers expect and deserve.”

“The current disruptions and cancellations to Gippsland rail services caused by wheel wear and boom gate operations have been incredibly frustrating, and have caused enormous inconvenience and delay. It’s only fair that replacement travel including for these extra services stays free for Gippsland travellers while we work on safely returning rail services to the line.”