Why are our stations being upgraded?
The Government is spending at least $14.5 billion to upgrade 1700kms of freight rail line from Melbourne to Brisbane to accommodate larger double-stacked trains. This is called the Inland Rail project.
These larger trains will allow more freight to be moved faster and is designed to create new economic opportunities for regional Australia.
To allow safe clearance for the taller double-stacked trains that will be using the rail line, many sites need the rail track to be lowered or bridges to be raised. In North-East Victoria, there are five sites that require upgrades:
- Anderson Street bridge, Euroa
- Benalla Station Precinct, Benalla
- Beaconsfield Parade Bridge, Glenrowan
- Wangaratta Station, Wangaratta
- Murray Valley Highway, Barnawartha North
What is the problem?
The initial proposals from the Australian Rail Track corporation (ARTC) to upgrade sites in Glenrowan, Benalla, Wangaratta and Euroa raised significant concerns among the local community.
- In Glenrowan, the ARTC is proposing to demolish the Beaconsfield Parade road bridge and replace it with a larger road bridge. Many locals have expressed concerns about the visual impact of the bridge and the loss of nationally-significant Ned Kelly heritage.
- In Benalla, the ARTC is proposing to replace the existing Mackellar street overpass with an even larger one. Many locals are concerns this will cut the station off from the town, leaving Benalla with an ugly road overpass and an inaccessible station. Instead, the community has called for the re-alignment of the existing track, the demolition of the current road overpass, and a new, accessible station entrance.
- In Euroa, the ARTC is proposing to replace the Anderson Street Bridge with an even larger road bridge. Many locals feels that this outcome would further divide the town and are instead advocating for a road underpass.
What do we want?
We are calling on the ARTC to genuinely listen to our local community and to deliver outcomes for our towns that meet community expectations. We want the ARTC to run open, fair consultation process and go with the option in each town that the community backs.
For the last two years, I have been working closely with the local community, the Government and the ARTC to push them to deliver the outcomes we want. We are making progress, but we still need to pressure the Government and the ARTC to deliver.
What can you do?
After initially ruling them out, the ARTC has now released design options for both Euroa and Benalla that include both the road overpass options, but also the community-backed options for a road underpass in Euroa and a track re-alignment in Benalla. This is a huge win, but the work is not done.
Over the next few weeks, residents of Benalla and Euroa have the opportunity to provide their feedback to the ARTC on the proposed designs. This is our big chance to have our say on projects that will shape our towns for decades into the future.
I encourage you to visit the ARTC website, review the draft designs, and complete the survey. You can do this by following the link here: