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THE Andrews Government has announced plans to run VLocity trains all the way along the Warrnambool line, thanks to upgrades that will slash commute times by up to 20 minutes.
More than 150 new regional train services will come into effect from next month, including 69 services for Geelong — 30 of those running every weekend.
The extra services mean trains will run at least every 40 minutes from 7am to 7pm every day on the Geelong line — Victoria’s busiest regional rail corridor.
Public Transport Minister Jacinta Allan unveiled the latest V/Line timetable Friday, prior to its coming into effect August 27.
Ms Allan said the new services would help regional passengers “get to where they need to go sooner”.
“We’re delivering the services and infrastructure regional Victoria needs as it grows,” she said.
“We are providing more choice for regional people who want to head to the footy, see a show or visit loved ones — whether that be in Melbourne or across the state.”
The revamped timetable comes on the back of $1.5 billion of Federal cash committed to the State Government’s Regional Rail Revival package, which was announced in the Victorian Budget in May.
The money, finalised in late June as part of a deal cut alongside the lucrative long-term Port of Melbourne lease, will be used to kickstart a raft of rail upgrades across the state — including a second platform at Waurn Ponds station and reservation of the rail corridor for a future spur line to Torquay.
Premier Daniel Andrews said his government was committed to running “more trains, more often”.
“With this massive upgrade, Labor is delivering more jobs, better trains, and more services to Warrnambool,” Mr Andrews said.
Stabilising works will need to be completed at the Warrnambool railway station before it’s capable of hosting the faster, more efficient VLocity models for the first time.
Work is currently underway to upgrade 20 level crossings on the Warrnambool line with lights, bells and boom gates.
Western Victoria MP and Vote 1 Local Jobs member James Purcell said he was “very eager” to see the first VLocity trains rolling in Warrnambool.
“We have been like a broken record in parliament for the past three years asking for solutions to timetable issues, delays and ageing facilities on this line,” Mr Purcell said.
“This is a great outcome.”
The latest V/Line timetables are now available online, with passengers able to pick up printed timetables at stations from next Thursday, July 27.
This article first appeared on www.geelongadvertiser.com.au
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