Infrastructure Australia has rejected the North East Rail Line upgrade’s business case to be included on the infrastructure priority list, following an independent evaluation.
The North East Rail Line project aims to upgrade rail track between Melbourne and Albury/Wodonga to a Victorian Class two performance standard, which includes upgrading supporting rail infrastructure.
Infrastructure Australia Chief Executive Romilly Madew said the conclusion was reached by an independent advisor after a rigorous assessment process.
“We recognise the importance of good-quality regional rail transport to give people genuine travel choices and equitable service levels,” Madew said.
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“We know compared to other regional Victorian passenger lines, there is relatively poor punctuality, and reliability on the North East Rail Line. However, based on the current evidence available, the cost of the project would significantly outweigh its benefits.”
The business case was put forward by the Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC). According to Madew, Infrastructure Australia would welcome a revised business case from ARTC.
“Given the importance of rail in serving Australia’s regional communities, Infrastructure Australia recommends the proponent explores alternative options, possibly with faster and more frequent services, which would achieve a better balance of the expected costs and benefits,” she said.