Duplication of rail essential: Committee for Greater Frankston

Duplication of the rail line to at least Langwarrin is essential for better public transport in Greater Frankston, according to a local advisory body.

Following Infrastructure Australia listing Frankston Public Transport Connectivity as a near-term initiative, a local advisory committee was set up to explore options, including duplication.

In June, the committee released its report recommending two priority options. The first option involved twin tracks to Langwarrin plus a new Leawarra station and Langwarrin station. The second option involved twin tracks to Baxter plus new stations at Leawarra and Langwarrin.

Committee for Greater Frankston chief executive Ginevra Hosking said that either option would enable a frequent service.

“Importantly, both options allow a 15-minute service, a new Leawarra–Monash campus station servicing the growing Frankston health and education precinct (with estimated patronage making it the 15th busiest suburban station), and moving the main commuter parking outside Frankston’s CBD, freeing up the city centre for other users.”

The report highlights that a duplicated rail line would provide a backbone for public transport in the area and would be supported by connections such as park and ride facilities, optimising the local bus network, and improving cycling and pedestrian links.

Improvements to the rail line have $225 million of federal funding committed, however the Victorian state government has yet to commit to the construction of a duplicated rail line. The advisory committee explored short-term options, with the assumption that a second track could be built in future.

“However, a single track would severely reduce train frequency,” said Hosking. “A single track to Langwarrin should support a 15-minute ‘turn up and go’ service. A single track to Baxter would not.”

Chair of the advisory group and vice president of the Committee for Greater Frankston Christine Richards said that all sides of politics should fund the rail extension.

“The Committee for Greater Frankston is calling on all state and federal politicians to commit to building the rail extension with a minimum 15-minute service,” she said.

“Almost a century is too long to wait for any project. It’s time to extend the line, build the missing station car parks, fill the trains and run them fast to get public transport usage across the region back on track.”