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The Rail Revival Alliance applauds the State government on its rail initiatives in the 2016 State Budget. For the first time in a generation, rail and road projects received equal funding. Rail revival President, Noel Laidlaw said today there were a number of game-changing initiatives being proposed and that the people of Victoria would benefit for many years to come as a result of these commitments.
The duplication of the Ballarat line to Melton, more crossing loops, additional freight infrastructure, duplications along the Gippsland and other lines were all part of the commitment to rail Mr. Laidlaw said.
“The budget has also made a major purchase of rolling stock for both regional and suburban rail systems and is modernising its loco-hauled carriage fleet.”
The commitment to Melbourne Metro and the extension of rail services to Mernda will make a significant contribution to Melbourne’s rail network.
Most pleasing to the Rail Revival Alliance was the introduction of additional services on the Maryborough line. “We have been working for years for the commitment to Geelong – Goldfields rail link and we see the additional services as a necessary part of the package that will come in future budgets.”
“We are a long way from being informed not that many years ago that we NEVER see passenger trains return to the Maryborough Station.”
Mr Laidlaw said, that it was heartening to see the additional 170 services per week that this budget has funded. It was good to see more trains to the smaller regional centres of Warrnambool, Shepparton, Traralgon and Maryborough as well as those served by the Regional Fast Rail.
This comes on top of the Murray Basin initiative, which has been funded by the State and Federal governments to the tune of 420 million dollars The implication for rail freight are very significant, and Victoria is coming to terms with the age old legacy of many different rail gauges throughout the Commonwealth. It will also set the scene for the reintroduction of passenger rail services into Mildura which will service communities such as Maryborough, St Arnaud, and Donald along the way.
Mr Laidlaw said that there was no extension of the existing country passenger rail network under the 2016 budget. Cities like Mildura, Horsham, Leongatha, Hamilton and Portland are languishing under the unpopular bus replacement of trains. The way is now forward for future budgets to address these and other communities which have been busy campaigning for the restoration of their rail services, since they were taken from them by the Kennett government twenty years ago.
“The restoration of the Goldfields rail link between Geelong - Ballarat - Maryborough - Castlemaine - Bendigo, remains upper in the minds of the Rail Revival Alliance. The government has made the first steps in achieving this objective by the additional services into Maryborough.”
“We will continue to campaign for this essential economic rail link to be restored,” Mr Laidlaw said. Putting forward the case for country rail on behalf of hundreds of thousands of country Victorians, the various community-based groups should see this budget as a great start to restoring modern rail services to country Victoria.
Rail Revival Alliance
M: 0448 568 429
Public Relations Manager
Rail Revival Alliance
M: 0439 961 646
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