Coalition pledges high-speed rail for Geelong

Transport Pillar

An elected Liberal Nationals State Government would develop Victoria’s passenger rail network by delivering European-style High-Speed Rail to Geelong and across Victoria, it was announced today (3 Oct 2018).

The Coalition says Melbourne’s population squeeze is putting enormous stress on our roads, public transport, schools and hospitals and that impacts everyone’s quality of life.

Bringing Victoria’s cities closer together with European-style High-Speed Rail is the cornerstone of the Liberal Nationals plan to ease the population squeeze by decentralising jobs and population.

European-style High-Speed Rail to regional cities would also give Victorians more options for affordable housing, more lifestyle choices and more employment opportunities.

Reaching speeds of up to 200 kilometres per hour, Victoria’s new High-Speed rail network would be the fastest in Australia.

The High-Speed Rail project would see the rebuild of much of Victoria's current Class 1 track to 200 kilometres per hour operation as well as major track improvements on every other passenger rail line.

High-Speed Rail would almost halve travel times between Melbourne and Geelong and between Melbourne and Traralgon.

Within the first term of a Liberal Nationals Government, travel times between Geelong and Melbourne would be slashed to just 32 minutes; an improvement of 26 minutes on the current timetable.

European-style High-Speed Rail would mean passengers on the Ballarat-Melbourne, Melbourne-Bendigo and Melbourne-Shepparton lines would also have travel times slashed.

It would also see the substantial upgrade of every other major country rail service (to Wodonga, Bairnsdale, Echuca, Swan Hill and Warrnambool) as well as the reopening of currently closed passenger services to Donald, Mildura, Horsham and Hamilton.

For the G21 region, new services would include from Colac to Bannockburn, via Geelong, and from Werribee to Waurn Ponds via Geelong (see Geelong Metro below).

A Liberal Nationals Government would fund two new fleets of new-generation, faster, inter-city flyer and long haul variants of the successful V/Locity trains which would provide better comfort and leg room, safety and amenity for passengers.

The first fleet of High-Speed trains would be delivered in the first term of government with a second fleet of possible double-deck models to follow.

Building European-style High-Speed Rail would also take more cars off our roads and that would save lives and cut traffic congestion.

This $15 billion to $19 billion super-infrastructure project would be planned and built in three stages over the next 10 years.

At the core of the Liberal Nationals plan for a European-style High-Speed Rail is the further separation of the regional network from the metropolitan network thus increasing capacity and avoiding a 'dump and run' at the end of the suburban rail network.

The High-Speed Rail project would also complement existing plans for an Airport Rail Link and the Metro Tunnel.

Melbourne has a population of five million and growing by 2,700 people a week. 

The Coalition says that unless Victoria starts to take action now, on current population projections, Melbourne would overtake Sydney by 2035.

The Coalition says European-style High-Speed Rail in Victoria is also a nation building project that would attract funding from the state / federal governments, along with the private sector.

Building a High-Speed Rail network across Victoria would create at least 10,000 new jobs, the Coalition says.

Geelong Metro for Colac and Bannockburn

An elected Liberal Nationals Government would also build Geelong Metro.

Geelong Metro would become a major hub for regional rail services that connect the city with regional centres. 

The Geelong Metro project would also provide the first metropolitan Geelong commuter rail service.

Operating from Colac to Bannockburn, via Geelong, as well as a service from Werribee to Waurn Ponds via Geelong, the new Geelong Metro would link with local bus services and put in place new public transport options for Victoria’s second largest city.

There is currently no direct rail service from Geelong to Werribee – the Coalition says the Geelong Metro project would ensure that employment and educational centres between Geelong and Werribee were properly connected.

Improved rail connections and commuter services are elements within the 'ask' of two G21 priority projects.

Source: Based on Coalition media releases