The Public Transport Users Association (PTUA) has called for the immediate duplication of single track sections on the Lilydale line, along with service upgrades.
“We’ve seen no major timetable changes or upgrades on our line since the Kennett era and it’s now time for action,” said Jeremy Lunn, the PTUA’s Outer-East Convenor. “The existing timetables are way out of date, too infrequent and don’t meet the expectations of the public.”
The upgrade call comes after record levels of patronage growth has seen many train services become overcrowded. According to Mr Lunn, services can be upgraded immediately, however, it is imperative that duplication is completed within the next five years.
To move the Lilydale line towards modern standards, the PTUA has proposed the following minimum service levels:
- Minimum train services every 15 minutes, from 5am until midnight by 2010; with a further upgrade to every 10 minutes by 2013 (5am to 10pm).
- This minimum service level would apply for each day of the week, with a uniform weekend timetable and no need for a separate Sunday or public holiday timetable.
- Peak hour services remain at the existing level with additional services to alleviate overcrowding and extending peak hour services to operate from 6:30am to 9:30am and 4:30pm to 8pm.
- Off-peak express services between Camberwell and Richmond.
The trains upgrades would also help to reduce pressure on Outer-East residents, brought about by climate change and rising petrol prices.
“The people in the Outer-East deserve an alternative to driving that not only helps Australia to meet its Kyoto targets, but also helps families and individuals to reduce their fuel bill,” Mr Lunn said.
Mr Lunn said that the State Government is in a good position to make to make these upgrades a reality as contracts for Melbourne’s train network are up for renewal this year.
The Lilydale line is currently a single track between Mooroolbark and Lilydale, a distance of 4.7km. It is expected that duplication would cost $30 million, including a new Cave Hill station at Hull Rd. “Duplicating this track would remove a serious bottleneck, while significantly improving reliability of train services,” Mr Lunn said.
“John Brumby needs to act by upgrading Melbourne’s rail services, before Melbourne becomes a backwater like Adelaide; or worse still, before Adelaide overtakes us,” Mr Lunn concluded.