An uneven section of closed rail line east of Traralgon proved no match for $13 million Austrian-made track cutting technology on Friday, as a long-awaited track maintenance program kicked off at the Minniedale Road level crossing.
Arriving to the Latrobe Valley with much fanfare late last month, the Linsinger track miller underwent a series of test runs for the technology’s first use in Australia, before being green-lit for use.
The machine will slice the top layer off sections of uneven track at 32 level crossings, where incoming trains were failing to trigger crossing signals and boom gates before the Bairnsdale V/Line service was closed east of Traralgon in March.
Crossings between Traralgon and Sale are due to be completed by mid-October, with crossings between Sale and Bairnsdale to be completed by the end of October.
When milling work is complete, preparation for a $6 million axle counter installation project will commence – a permanent solution to the crossing safety issue – due for completion by October 2014.
While V/Line chief executive Theo Taifalos said replacement coach services had been operating well since March, there had been resounding calls from the commuters for the train service to return.
Mr Taifalos reminded motorists to be vigilant around level crossings now milling works had commenced.
“Track machinery and test trains will be operating at any time of day or night so people need to be alert at all times,” Mr Taifalos said.