State budget brings good news for train users

The Public Transport Users Association (PTUA) has welcomed much needed investment and priority for rail projects for both for Metro and regional passengers.

PTUA spokesman Daniel Bowen said it was pleasing to see public transport investment finally on par with roads.

“We welcome the state’s commitment to fully find the Metro Tunnel project, but encourage the Andrews Government to continue seeking a fair share of Federal infrastructure funding, to allow other public transport projects to move ahead as well”, said Mr Bowen.

The PTUA has long campaigned for the fixing of single track rail bottlenecks, and is pleased to see the funding for duplication on both the Melton and Hurstbridge lines.

“Rail duplication is good news, helping cut delays and providing more capacity to run more services”, said Mr Bowen. “Public Transport Minister Jacinta Allan is right to call single track a relic of the past[1]. That’s why we hope to see more duplication in the near future such as on the Altona Loop, Cranbourne and Upfield lines.

“It’s also good to see investment in growing the V/Line and Metro fleets, providing additional services to relieve overcrowding and cut waiting times.

“Fully funding the Mernda rail extension will make a huge difference to communities in Melbourne’s north when that project is completed.

Mr Bowen said the relatively smaller upgrades for bus services were welcome, but this needed to be increased in coming years to provide better services. “Many suburbs are reliant on buses; it’s no wonder that station car parks are so packed when most connecting buses are so infrequent.

“It’s also disappointing to see little additional funding for the tram network. We are also awaiting news of the trial of high capacity in-cab signalling on suburban trains.

“But overall it’s great to see this budget deliver significant investment in the public transport network. This is good news, particularly for rail users”, concluded Mr Bowen.

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[1] Quote from Jacinta Allan in media release: “The single section of track between Heidelberg and Rosanna, and the two level crossings, are relics of the past. They simply don’t belong on a modern transport network.”