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Greens say not enough trains for RRL

<span class="" id="parent-fieldname-description"> The Victorian Government has responded strongly to the claims by Victorian Greens Leader Greg Barber, and based on a V/Line report, that Regional Rail Link services will be full from Day One. </span> <p>Mr Barber says that the report – <em>V/Line Initial Strategic Operations Plan</em> -obtained under Freedom of Information legislation, shows that the Baillieu government has not ordered enough trains to meet future demand and that 67 new railcars would be required to cater for the projected number of passengers.</p><p>In particular, Barber says the report indicates peak hour V/Line train services are reaching capacity and won’t be able to cope with the forecast growth in Bendigo, Castlemaine, Kyneton and Macedon.</p><p>&quotThe report shows a limited increase in service after the Regional Rail Link opens in 2016, and again in 2018, but beyond that they won’t be able to fit any more trains on the current lines,&quot said &nbspGreens Leader Barber.</p><p>&quotIn the report, V/Line recommends full duplication of the track between Castlemaine and Harcourt, renovating Bendigo station for better facilities for staff and customers, expanding the car park and waiting room at Castlemaine, building a waiting room on platform 2 at Woodend, plus expanding the car park and improving the footbridge at Woodend,&quot he said.</p><p>The Greens say the report identifies a number of shortcomings across the entire V/Line network – a breakdown can be found <strong><a href="">HERE</a></strong></p><p>“We will see in the May Budget if the Baillieu government will listen to V/Line’s advice or fail Victorians.&nbspSince Ted Baillieu took charge, there’s been no expansion of public transport for regional Victoria. Passenger numbers keep growing, but service levels don’t,” Barber said.</p><p>In response, Minister for Public Transport, Terry Mulder said, “The Coalition Government is acting to further increase the capacity of Melbourne and country Victoria’s rail networks.</p><p>“We provided almost $50 million in our 2012/13 Budget to advance the Melbourne Metro rail project.</p><p>“Investigations are underway into the Dandenong rail line capacity enhancement project, as is the possibility of operating longer suburban trains that can fit more passengers.</p><p>&quotThe Government has already ordered 40 new VLocity railcars from Bombardier for more than $200 million in the 2012/13 Budget for the country rail network.</p><p>&quotWe are actively investing in the Regional Rail Link, which is Australia’s largest public transport project that is currently being constructed. RRL will provide new, separate tracks for V/Line trains between Sunshine and Southern Cross. V/Line trains will no longer have to share the tracks with Metro’s suburban trains from 2016,” Mulder said.</p><p>CEO of Public Transport Victoria, Ian Dobbs said, “PTV has worked with V/Line to examine recent patronage trends and the latest projections for future growth. PTV is confident these extra carriages will meet the needs for V/Line’s network for the short to medium term.</p><p>“With the contract now signed to meet medium term capacity, PTV will examine the number and design of future trains for the regional network.”</p><p>The Government says that The 2011 V/Line report Mr Barber refers to is a long term (up to 20 year) planning document that changes based on changing investments and projections and has been since been superseded.</p><p>V/Line’s website shows that its peak period weekday Kyneton and Bendigo line trains all have vacant seats on <strong><a href="">a typical day</a></strong>.</p><p>While not every V/Line train stops at Sunbury during weekday peak periods, the Government says its recent opening of the Sunbury electrification means that there are more seats available for Gisborne, Woodend, Kyneton, Castlemaine, Bendigo, Kerang, Echuca and Swan Hill travellers.</p>