Good on her.Actually a space port could work. Just ring in Sir Richard Branson!
With a population of over 50,000 it is simply a national disgrace there is not a public hospital in Mildura and a passenger rail service. There is not even a viable and properly managed freight rail service to a national food bowl area. If you ever wanted a prime example of how a government could mismanage a population and treat an entire area of a state with contempt, then you need go no further.
A Hospital and train, you would think by the way the people of Mildura are treated they had asked for a billion in gold bullion and a space port.
Now being serious for a moment. Using SG long haul trains with speeds up to 120 - 130 kph from Ballarat to Mildura is quite achievable. It would get passengers there relatively quickly. You simply connect at Ballarat from Melbourne or elsewhere.
It's costing $235 million to bring the heavily used North East line up to Class 2, which is what is required for 130km/h DMU operation. Add another $100 million - I'm being kind here - to protect all the level crossings so your VLocity doesn't have to slow to a trundle for every dirt lane, and round up our total to $400 mill to account for the inferior present construction of the Mildura line and the longer distance involved. As a one-time special offer, I'll not include the additional costs of an isolated SG VLo stuck near Ballarat.
So that's $400,000,000 for a train service that, in a ludicrously best-case scenario, might carry 450 people a day. That's a full VLocity up and back. Spoiler alert: the train will not be full. Nowhere near. The Maryborough train carried less the 40 people on an average day last year. You really think there's going to be 10 times the users once you bring Mildura into it? Forget it.
Even then, $500 mill on the Ballarat line is getting us a couple of thousand
extra passengers a day.
That's the economic boondoggle explained. But what about the social case?
As I've explained at length previously, Mildura has excellent
connectivity to Melbourne compared to other cities its size around the country. Four bus/train services on two different routes each day at a very passable average speed.
What does the shiny train add to that? Not a lot.