Regional rail upgrades welcomed

The Public Transport Users Association (PTUA) has welcomed the agreement between the federal and Victorian governments which will see the release of $1.7 billion for improvements to the state’s regional rail network.

The PTUA’s Regional Spokesperson, Paul Westcott, said there was a need for significant improvement of the state’s longer-distance regional rail lines. The funding now available will be put towards upgrades on the Gippsland, Albury/Wodonga, Bendigo/Echuca, Ballarat and Geelong/Warrnambool lines.

“It’s good to see that the state and federal governments have finally sorted out this funding wrangle, so they can get on with delivering these vital projects, including the state government’s Regional Rail Revival project.”

“Inadequate service frequencies and poor timekeeping on our regional lines, coupled with too-frequent train breakdowns, have led to many complaints to the PTUA,” he said.

“There’s an obvious need to increase capacity on the system by track duplication and signalling upgrades, which will allow an increase in the number of services, not only on the regional commuter network, but also to places on the long-distance network, such as Echuca, Warrnambool and Shepparton.”

Mr Westcott noted the increasing number of large, heavy trucks on our highways, creating significant road maintenance and safety problems. “There’s general agreement that more freight must be carried by rail and this funding will also help achieve that,” he said.

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