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Media Release


Geelong Fast Rail: A Lost Opportunity for Service Improvements

A recently released Fast Rail brochure reveals that the Bracks Government does not intend to increase the frequency of rail services on the Geelong line.

Spokesperson for the Geelong Branch of the Public Transport Users Association, Tim Petersen, said that the new publication entitled "A New Era for Regional Rail Travel," conspicuously omits any mention of more services for the Geelong line, whilst highlighting service improvements for all the other Fast Rail Corridors.

"We can be sure that if the government was intending to significantly increase the frequency of Geelong's rail services, they wouldn't be shy about letting us know," Mr Petersen said. "Not only is this a waste of an opportunity to upgrade services along with the new trains and infrastructure, it should also concern Geelong line commuters using important stations like Lara and Footscray, who could lose services."

Mr Petersen said that the 45-minute train services between Geelong and Melbourne are only planned to stop at two intermediate stations, North Geelong and North Melbourne.

"Currently, only one service in each direction during peak times stops at only those stations. Assuming that at least two or three such 'fast rail' services are likely to run in peak periods and will apparently replace existing services, stops at stations like Lara and Footscray look set to be sacrificed," Mr Petersen said.

"Geelong's rail service needs extra capacity now to be able to cope with growing peak period passenger numbers, yet this looks unlikely to be delivered. There is an enormous amount of travel between Melbourne and Victoria's second city, due to Geelong's 200,000-strong population and its close proximity to Melbourne."

"There needs to be a base, half-hourly service between Geelong and Melbourne to capture a greater share of the market and get cars off the Geelong-Melbourne Road. If New South Wales can run half-hourly trains between Sydney and Gosford, we should be able to run them between Geelong and Melbourne," Mr Petersen said.

"Upgraded regional rail services have great potential, and the Bracks Government must be commended for its planned investment in fast rail. However, services must be upgraded with the infrastructure: no one can catch a train that isn't there to catch," Mr Petersen said.

State Government Fast Rail web site

PTUA Office 9650 7898

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Last Modified: 21 March 2002