Planning underway to deliver fast rail to Geelong and Ballarat

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The Andrews Labor Government is getting on with the vital planning needed to deliver fast rail to the regions and more metro services to Victoria’s growing suburbs.

The Victorian Budget 2019/2020 invests $100 million to deliver the detailed planning and design works to deliver the full separation of regional and metro services on the Geelong and Ballarat lines – as promised by the Andrews Government.

Separating the lines will mean fewer stops, faster trips and less crowded trains – and is the first step to delivering fast rail to the regions.

The investment will continue the technical work required to deliver two new electrified metro lines to Melton and Wyndham Vale, with the Wyndham Vale line potentially becoming the western section of the Suburban Rail Loop.

“The Western Rail Plan is one of the vital projects our growing city and state needs – electrifying the rail lines to the west to run more services to our booming suburbs and a step towards fast rail to Geelong and Ballarat,” Minister for Transport Infrastructure Jacinta Allan said

The additional tracks between Sunshine and the CBD would enable more trains to run – most likely through a new tunnel that would be part of Melbourne Airport Rail Link.

The Western Rail Plan will also look at express fast rail services on the Geelong and Ballarat lines, including the potential full electrification of these lines with new electric regional rolling stock.

The Victorian Government has already established a Geelong Fast Rail Reference Group that includes community representatives living in and around Geelong, along with stakeholders from a range of areas.

“It’s part of our suburban rail and road blitz that is slashing congestion, boosting services and creating thousands of jobs,” Minister Allan said.

The group will help Rail Projects Victoria assess fast rail options as part of the Western Rail Plan, with wider community consultation to begin in later this year.

Rail Projects Victoria has already begun a program of investigations and technical studies to better understand existing conditions along the Melton, Werribee, Wyndham Vale and Geelong corridors.

“We promised to get on with our unprecedented Big Build and that’s exactly what we’re doing – delivering the projects we need now and planning the projects we’ll need in the future as our city and state grow,” Allan said.

Staging of the Western Rail Plan is being considered alongside the planning underway for the Melbourne Airport Rail Link business case, which is due in 2020.

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