Regional Rail Connections

Transport Pillar

The Need

Public transport services in the G21 region need to be upgraded to improve frequency and connectivity within the region and provide better linkages with main line rail services to Melbourne.

The current Geelong-Melbourne rail service is overcrowded and suffers frequent delays. Since the Regional Rail Link began operation in 2015, passenger numbers have dramatically increased.

As well as being a regional train service, the link also serves the rapidly expanding metropolitan suburbs in Wyndham. Patronage on the Geelong line jumped 57 per cent in the link's first year, an extra 2.4 million journeys, because of two new outer suburban stations at Tarneit and Wyndham Vale.

During peak-hour, Geelong trains are at up to 140 per cent capacity. This means that 12 of the 16 morning peak trains are more than 100 per cent full, well before they reach Southern Cross Station.

A failure to separate suburban and regional trains will ultimately make Melbourne less accessible for G21 region residents. New express tracks must be built for Geelong trains. The existing line, servicing Wyndham Vale, would be operated by Metro Trains, while the express line would be serviced by V/Line.

There is also a need to increase services south of the Geelong line.

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.

This also impacts the Geelong–Colac–Warrnambool train service, which currently has four services each day. 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.

Project aims

INCREASE THE CAPACITY OF THE GEELONG-MELBOURNE RAIL PASSENGER SERVICE

A failure to separate suburban and regional trains will make Melbourne less accessible for G21 region residents. New express tracks must be built for Geelong trains to reduce delays and improve service capacity.

INCREASE THE FREQUENCY OF THE GEELONG-WARRNAMBOOL RAIL PASSENGER SERVICE

Currently four Geelong to Warrnambool services run each day. A minimum of five services per day is required to improve accessibility across the G21 region and provide greater opportunities for employment and post-secondary education. Further increases would be linked to increased usage and improvements in the rail infrastructure.

SERVICE IMPROVEMENTS TO SUPPORT DELIVERY OF IMPROVED CAPACITY, FREQUENCY AND CONNECTIVITY

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 to allow trains to pass each other. Second platforms at Waurn Ponds (funded), Marshall and South Geelong and would be considered as part of the corridor planning.

Long-term, the track across the Barwon River would be duplicated. Duplication of the tunnel between Geelong and South Geelong is unnecessary at this stage. While the tunnel creates a 3-minute choke point, this is preferable to the existing 20-minute delay created by the single track to Waurn Ponds.

Geelong rail yard relocation (funded)

Relocation of the Geelong rail yard will help increase the number of peak commuter services south of Geelong.

Increase capacity on the Warrnambool line

The single rail line between Geelong and Warrnambool is almost 200 kilometres long but has only two passing loops (Warncoort and Camperdown). This restricts the number of services that can run.

A new passing loop at Weerite, near Camperdown, has been identified as a site for a third crossing loop.

Identify the Armstrong Creek Transport Corridor

The Armstrong Creek Transit Corridor will investigate options to eventually allow the public transport network to be extended.

Project Champion

Guy Wilson-Browne, General Manager City Services, City of Greater Geelong

What has been committed

The State and Federal Government have committed:

  • $160 million towards the Armstrong Creek Transit corridor, including railway corridor and business case preparation for duplication, associated works between South Geelong and Waurn Ponds and reservation of land for links to Torquay
  • $115 million for a train stabling and maintenance yard near Waurn Ponds
  • $114 million for a Warrnambool line upgrade including track and signals upgrades
  • $50 million for a feasability study investigating fast rail infrastructure between Geelong and Melbourne
  • $25.9 million to construct the Waurn Ponds Railway Station, with 200 parking spaces (complete)
  • $10 million to build a new rail passing loop between Marshall and Warrnambool and funds to restore Colac’s passing loop
  • Additional Geelong-Melbourne V/Line train services between 9am-3pm, with the off-peak Geelong service departing every 20 minutes
  • Stage 1 of a Marshall Railway Station upgrade.

What is required

A State Government commitment of:

  • $500 million to separate the Geelong-Melbourne regional line from the metropolitan rail service by creating express lanes at Wyndham Vale.
  • an increase in platform capacity on the Geelong-Melbourne rail network to accommodate nine-carriage trains.
  • an increase rail service between Geelong and Colac/Warrnambool from four services a day to a minimum of five return services per day.