CONSTRUCTION work is now underway on the 7.5 kilometre Footscray to Deer Park section of the Victorian Regional Rail Link (RRL) project.
Federal Infrastructure and Transport Minister Anthony Albanese last week joined Victorian Public Transport Minister Terry Mulder in West Footscray to turn the first sod on this major package of works.
"This multi-billion project is building Melbourne's first new piece of passenger rail infrastructure since the Glen Waverley line was opened in 1930, more than 80 years ago," Mr Albanese said.
"Since then the City's population has more than quadrupled to over four million residents and unlike our predecessors we recognise that the task of putting in place the modern infrastructure necessary to support such growth is too big for any one level of government."
Mr Mulder said the Regional Rail Link would deliver tangible benefits to both metropolitan and regional line passengers through increased timetable services and reliability.
"It is a momentous occasion and it is significant that we are starting works at West Footscray, a suburb that is changing its industrial face with new residential developments," Mr Mulder said.
"The modern transport hub that will be the rebuilt West Footscray station under this section of the Regional Rail Link will be an important part of that change."
An alliance of the Regional Rail Link Authority, Metro, V/Line, Thiess, Balfour Beatty, Parsons Brinckerhoff and Sinclair Knight Merz are working together to deliver this section of the project.
Other sections will soon follow this lead, with work on laying 25 kilometres of track from Deer Park to West Werribee to commence later this year.
The Australian Government has committed $3.2 billion to the Regional Rail Link project through the Nation Building Program, with the Victorian Government providing the balance of funding.
With completion expected in 2016, the Regional Rail Link will separate regional trains from metropolitan trains with a new rail line running from West Werribee through Deer Park and suburbs including Sunshine and Footscray to Southern Cross Station.