Three new train stations in Huntly, Raywood and Goornong are one step closer, with last week’s state budget including a $49.6 million investment in stage three of the Bendigo Metro project.

Minister for Transport Infrastructure Jacinta Allan said this project will bring train services back to those communities that lost them years ago.

“Those local communities can see that we are delivering on that commitment to deliver train services to those communities,” Ms Allan said.

The three stations will be part of a Bendigo-Echuca line upgrade that includes planning to reopen Harcourt Station.

There has been $91 million  spent on the Bendigo and Echuca line upgrades, which will deliver stage two of the Bendigo Metro.

That includes an improvement to train signalling infrastructure to allow higher frequency services between Bendigo, Epsom and Eaglehawk.

There has also been an allocation of $5 million in the 2019/20 Victorian Budget for a new bio-wash facility in Bendigo.

The state’s only existing bio-wash facility is currently in Melbourne.

The facilities are much needed as part of ongoing train maintenance, especially when animal strikes occur.

“The Bendigo line has the highest number of animal strikes of any line across the regional network,” Ms Allan said.

“The project means that trains can be cleaned, repaired and got back into service much quicker and that will improve reliability and services for passengers across the network.”

Fifty jobs will be created during construction of the bio-wash, with five to eight ongoing jobs created to operate the facility.

NICHOLAS NAKOS