Election focus on regional rail

Rail is a big state election winner – both parties have promised to reduce travel times by introducing fast rail and completing work essential to increasing services.

The Coalition says it would upgrade Victoria’s passenger rail network, including delivering a European-style high-speed rail 32-minute Melbourne-Geelong commuter service by 2022.

The Coalition would also build a Geelong Metro commuter rail service linking Colac to Bannockburn and Werribee to Waurn Ponds, both via Geelong.

Labor announced a new Western Rail Plan, including full separation of regional and metro services on the Geelong and Ballarat lines – the first step in delivering fast rail to both cities.

It plans two new electrified metro lines to Melton and Wyndham Vale, additional tracks between Sunshine and the CBD, and a major overhaul to the express Geelong and Ballarat lines to run fast-trains, including the potential full electrification of those lines.

Labor has allocated $100 million and says its full plan is expected to bring Geelong-Melbourne travel times to under 45 minutes, with construction beginning in 2022.

If re-elected, Labor would also invest $340 million to build 18 new three-car trains for Geelong and Ballarat, to be delivered by 2021.

We celebrate that there is a solution. Unfortunately, this answer won’t immediately impact reliability and congestion issues, which are an increasing problem as the region rapidly grows.