Regional Rail Connections
Following the development of the Regional Rail Link, regional rail upgrades and extensions across the G21 region need to be planned and executed to maximise the value of that investment. Continued strong population growth within the G21 region will only heighten this need.
Public transport services in the G21 region also need to be upgraded to provide improved frequency, better connectivity within the region and better linkages with main line rail services to Melbourne.
Further measures required include the duplication of the rail line between Geelong and Waurn Ponds stations, including the construction of second platforms at Waurn Ponds, Marshall and South Geelong stations, the relocation of the rail yards away from Geelong station, and the identification of a public transport corridor to allow a rail network to be extended to Torquay in the longer term.
V/Line's off-peak weekday service between Melbourne and South Geelong runs at 20-minute intervals but Marshall and Waurn Ponds can only have a 40-minute service due to the single track beyond South Geelong.
The single track on the Warrnambool line beyond Waurn Ponds restricts the number of services which can be run. It is now important to increase the frequency of the Geelong–Colac–Warrnambool train service.
Increasing the frequency of the Geelong to Warrnambool Rail Passenger service
The current level of rail passenger services between Geelong and Colac/Warrnambool is a barrier to the development of towns such as Colac and Winchelsea. Increasing the services from four to five in each direction per day will increase accessibility within the region and provide opportunities for employment and post-secondary education. Further increases would be linked to increased usage and improvements in the rail infrastructure.
Partial duplication of rail line Waurn Ponds to Geelong
Capacity constraints on the Geelong-Waurn Ponds rail line demonstrate the need to duplicate the track between South Geelong and Waurn Ponds stations. No land needs to be acquired to do that.
The duplication, now in planning and business case preparation, could be done in stages starting with the provision of a second track between Waurn Ponds and Marshall to allow trains to pass each other, and construction of a second platform at Marshall. Ideally a second platform would also be provided at Waurn Ponds.
Later a second platform could be provided at South Geelong station and then the track across the Barwon River could be duplicated.
Duplication of the tunnel between Geelong and South Geelong is unnecessary in any but the longest term. It might be a choke point but trains take only three minutes to travel between the two stations, compared with the existing choke point of 20 minutes or more caused by the single track to Waurn Ponds.
Increasing capacity on the Warrnambool line
The single track from Geelong to Warrnambool is almost 200 kilometres long but has only two crossing loops, at Warncoort and Camperdown. This restricts the number of services that can be run and also leads to unreliability if any train is running behind time.
Track duplication from South Geelong to Waurn Ponds will help but to increase the the number of rail services to Colac and Warrnambool new passing loops will have to be provided. Weerite, near Camperdown, has already been identified as site for another crossing loop.
Geelong rail yard relocation
Relocation of Geelong rail yard (funded) will help increase the number of peak commuter services south of Geelong, before and after track duplication.
Torquay public transport corridor
A designated public transport corridor to Torquay (funded for reservation of land) will allow the network to be extended with continued upgrades of across the region.
Guy Wilson-Browne, General Manager City Services, City of Greater Geelong
What has been committed
The State Government has committed:
- $115 million for a train stabling and maintenance yard near Waurn Ponds
- $25.9 million to construct the Waurn Ponds Railway Station, with 200 parking spaces (completed)
- $10 million to build a new rail passing loop between Marshall and Warrnambool and funds to restore Colac’s passing loop
- $4 million to plan for railway duplication between South Geelong and Waurn Ponds
- $110 million (approx) in 2017-18 Budget towards the Surf Coast Rail Project including railway corridor and business case preparation for duplication and associated works between South Geelong and Waurn Ponds (see also Federal Government committment), and reservation of land for a link to Torquay.
- $3 million to investigate transport options for Armstrong Creek
- Additional Geelong-Melbourne V/Line train services between 9am-3pm, with the off-peak Geelong service departing every 20 minutes (completed)
- $100 million committed in 2017-18 Budget for track and signals upgrades allowing additional passenger services to Warrnambool through Geelong and Colac.
- Stage 1 of a Marshall Railway Station upgrade, including 300 new car parking spaces (complete).
The Federal Government committed:
- $100 million in the 2017-18 Budget towards duplication of the rail line from Geelong to Waurn Ponds stations. Work to include additional platforms at South Geelong, Marshall and Waurn Ponds stations.
What is required
- An increase in rail service between Geelong and Colac/Warrnambool from four services a day to a minimum of five return services per day ($100 million allocated in 2017-18 State Budget for line upgrading will, when completed, allow increase of services).