UP to 40 new carriages will hit the V/Line train network by 2016.
The government yesterday announced it had placed an order for 40 additional carriages, at a cost of more than $200 million, to meet increased service levels for the opening of the Regional Rail Link in four years.
The announcement was welcomed Committee for Ballarat, but slammed by Ballarat West MP Sharon Knight.
The first of the carriages will be delivered in 2014 and will be the first order of new regional trains since 2009.
It has not yet been determined how many carriages will be on the Ballarat line – V/Line will decide closer to the roll-out date.
The Committee for Ballarat launched its FastTrack Ballarat campaign in October, and taskforce chairman Noel Coxall said it was great news to hear of more trains.
Mr Coxall said it meant V/Line would be able to install seven-carriage trains on the Ballarat line.
However he took the opportunity to remind the government of the desire to have wi-fi installed on trains.
“Any extra carriages we get on the Ballarat line is a good thing,” said Mr Coxall. “It’s very exciting news, there are some services that are packed to the brim. But we would love to have wi-fi compatible technology, which is extremely important.”
The carriages will be constructed by Bombardier at its Dandenong South factory. The order follows the recent announcement that Ballarat’s Alstom factory would build seven new trains for Melbourne metropolitan lines.
Transport Minister Terry Mulder said the new carriages would ensure the fleet would service regional Victoria long into the future.
“The VLocity fleet has served Victoria well and we are confident that these trains will continue to perform for years to come,” he said.
Ballarat West MP Sharon Knight criticised the government, saying the order for trains had come two years too late.
More than three million journeys are made on the Ballarat rail line every year.