, ,

Rail users call on MPs to save North Melbourne stop

Volunteers will hand out fliers at Geelong railway stations this week, asking passengers to contact state and federal MPs to help save stops at North Melbourne station.

When the Regional Rail Link opens, Geelong line trains will run past North Melbourne station without a stop, despite it being the best station for changes to the City Loop, and other rail and bus services.

Dedicated train users will give fliers to early morning commuters outside major Geelong stations, encouraging them to e-mail, phone or visit their MPs to make their views known.

The Public Transport Users Association’s Geelong branch convenor, Paul Westcott, said the volunteers hoped to raise awareness among train travellers. “About half of regional commuters change at North Melbourne, but many don’t know that they will lose their stop without urgent changes to Regional Rail Link plans”.

Mr Westcott said that North Melbourne was the most direct, convenient transfer point for commuters changing to the City Loop, the Broadmeadows and Upfield lines, and the 401 bus shuttle to the university and hospital precincts.

He said that because the new Regional Rail Link tracks will run right beside North Melbourne station, new platforms and a connection to the existing concourses could be easily provided.

“Most train users will be baffled by the government’s stance, apparently made to save money, despite the project receiving $5 billion of state and federal government funding,” Mr Westcott said.

He said the Government’s current plan, to make train travellers change to the City Loop at Footscray or Southern Cross, would be highly unpopular. “Passengers could change at those stations now, but they don’t do so because it’s much quicker and more convenient to use North Melbourne. It is extraordinary that the State Government is spending $5 billion on a project that will make things worse for a great many passengers.”