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Geelong Branch Media Release


Labor's cut-price station plan flawed

Appalling service levels, future upgrades restricted and no ticket office

The Geelong Branch of the Public Transport Users Association has called on Labor to review its plans for Grovedale Station, saying proposed services to the station were so infrequent that most commuters were unlikely to use it. Spokesperson Tim Petersen added that Labor’s plans had cut out part of the infrastructure that was proposed in the original plan, which would make it impossible for many existing Geelong trains to run through to Grovedale.

Mr Petersen said that Labor's proposal to run only 58 services a week to the station was completely inadequate. He said this was almost half the (already very low) 100 services a week proposed in the original V/Line-National Express feasibility study, and less than a fifth of the 300 services a week that stop at the Geelong Railway Station.

"Grovedale needs a full-time service. At least every train that currently goes through to South Geelong should extend to Grovedale, along with extra weekend and evening services."

"Under Labor's proposal, only one in five Geelong trains will go through to Grovedale. Potential passengers would be faced with such long waits between trains, that most won't use the station. Those who can catch the train from South Geelong or Geelong Stations will do so instead."

He also said that unlike the $7.5 million plan proposed by the original feasibility study, (which has been committed to by the Liberal Party,) Labor's $3 million plan did not include a section of second track to allow locomotives to swap ends of the train and "turn the train around." He said that this would severely restrict the services that could run through to Grovedale in the foreseeable future.*

Mr Petersen said passengers were also concerned that Labor seemed to have removed a small waiting room and ticket office (which was to be staffed in the morning) from the original plans. "It appears the new station will be little more than an isolated platform. Few people will want to use it, let alone leave cars and bicycles unattended. Personal security could also be an issue."

"It is extremely disappointing that Labor is engaging in short-sighted penny-pinching at election time. Given that it has just spent at least $270 million on the freeway to Melbourne, which is four times the amount committed to Geelong’s fast rail, it could surely find an extra $4 million to build the full station."

Mr Petersen concluded that while users have welcomed Labor's recognition of the need for a station at Grovedale, they want it done properly: "Grovedale needs a complete station and a complete service." He again commended the Liberal Party for pledging to build the full station, but warned that the Liberals needed to make commitments on service frequency before voters could make a real comparison between parties.

* Note: The 58 proposed services break down to ten every weekday (perhaps five in each direction) and eight services total throughout the weekend (perhaps four in each direction).

Labor is proposing that the only trains to stop at Grovedale would be (infrequent) trains running through to Warrnambool, plus some additional services run with two locomotives (one at either end of the train.) This means that they would not have to build the section of extra track to allow the normal single locomotive trains to 'turn around'.

However, running trains with two locomotives is likely to be expensive, inefficient and limited by the number of available locomotives. As such, it is not a long-term solution and is unlikely to be used for regular, frequent train services.

"Sprinter" trains would be capable of running to Grovedale, however they are only used occasionally on the Geelong line due to the high number of passengers using the line.

The new fast trains (due around 2005) would also be capable of running to Grovedale. However, even after these new trains are introduced, existing locomotives and carriages will continue to be used for many services on the Geelong line, in order to cope with the passenger volumes. Given the problems with running trains with two locomotives, it is unlikely that the majority of services could be extended to Grovedale in the foreseeable future.

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Last Modified: 14 November 2002