MY POLICY INITIATIVE
This policy commits to commencing the necessary planning, design and costings that is required for a dedicated Gippsland V/Line track into Melbourne. If it is good enough for Geelong, Ballarat and Bendigo to have dedicated lines into Melbourne then it is time to plan for a dedicated line for Gippsland commuters. If a dedicated line is not feasible or possible, then at the very least lets understand if a part dedicated line/part passing loop option is. And the only way we can find out the answer is to undertake a comprehensive study.
The frustration of Gippsland commuters is palpable given the unreliability of services with people either missing medical appointments, missing important transport connections, missing events and functions and in many cases losing work because they are running late. I have constantly been raising this issue in Parliament on behalf of my community, yet the real impediment is ignored, and that is the choking points for Gippsland trains on the metropolitan network.
Currently the Gippsland line is the most neglected in the state and is in need of urgent attention. Since 2001, when the then Bracks Government said travel times from Traralgon to Melbourne would be 94 minutes, journey times have deteriorated dramatically. This has led to the line having the slowest average speed of any mainline, and this is unacceptable. A dedicated Gippsland line would see an end to this issue. Much work has already been undertaken and recommendations understood including those in the Gippsland Rail Needs Study.
Whilst it’s important to upgrade stations, provide additional car parking and even build passing loops in Gippsland, we also desperately need additional peak services, more carriages at peak times, and a line in the metropolitan network that ensures Gippsland trains will not be delayed and shoved to the back of the line. So whether a dedicated line or the combination of a dedication line and passing loops is required to alleviate the ongoing bottleneck, then let’s do the necessary preliminary work to see what is possible.
The current State Government continually spruiks its transport infrastructure agenda, and how it intends to spend hundreds of billions in Melbourne; yet at the same time Gippsland commuters are currently dealing with what has been described as third world train services. For all the billions being spent we can’t even get the Government to make a commitment to do a feasibility study, and is it little wonder that Gippsland commuters feel neglected.
Links to speeches in Parliament raising this issue since 2016;