Two councils west of Melbourne have joined together to call for investment in rail services to Geelong.
The Greater Geelong council passed a motion with the support of the Wyndham City council outlining the commitments that they see as needing to be made by state and federal governments.
The services are: two new electrified metropolitan rail lines to Melton and Wyndham vale, separate from the Geelong and Ballarat lines; increased track capacity between Sunshine and the CBD, investment in the Geelong and Ballarat lines, including electrification and fast electric regional trains; connecting the Wyndham Vale and Werribee lines; and a timeline and dedicated funding for the network.
“Fast and frequent rail services to Wyndham and Geelong have the potential to significantly impact the long-term liveability of our regions, opening up employment and education opportunities, and allowing our residents to spend less time on the train and more time with their loved ones,” said Mayor of the Greater Geelong council Stephanie Asher.
The calls follow demands made by other groups for a separate rail line between Sunshine and the CBD, to carry trains to and from the airport, and offers of extra funding from the private consortium building the line.
Similarly, the councils reject the alternative of putting airport trains on the current line.
“The proposal for the Melbourne Airport Rail Link reported to be under consideration would put extra trains onto already over-crowded tracks between the CBD and Sunshine. This would devastate the prospects of achieving desperately needed faster and more frequent services to Melbourne’s west and regional Victoria,” said Asher.
“Our trains are already slow and overcrowded, and will only get worse without action.”
Josh Gillian, mayor of Wyndham City council, echoed Asher’s concerns.
“We are in urgent need of an increase to existing services. Squashing more trains onto an already busy line will only prevent this from happening.”
Population growth along the Geelong rail line has increased to 131 per cent over the past five years, according to Gilligan this is higher than any other regional line.
“As our population continues to soar, we need other tiers of government to back us and deliver the infrastructure we need. We know that our trains are already full, especially at rush hour, forcing our residents to cram into carriages or wait for the next train.”
Currently, the Victorian government is investing $160 million in the Geelong Line, as part of the Regional Rail Revival project. This involves upgrades at Waurn Ponds, and Armstrong Creek.