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A fast train finally linking Perth to Bunbury has been put on the agenda by the Turnbull Government, arguing it and several other rail projects could help make the State more liveable for commuters.
But it could be years before the dream of a one-hour train trip between Perth and the regional centre is made real.
The Federal Government yesterday launched its “faster rail prospectus”, looking for projects across the country that could tap up to $20 billion that is to be set aside over the coming decade to upgrade key parts of the nation’s rail systems.
The prospectus identifies the Perth-Bunbury link, along with Perth-Mandurah and suburban links to Joondalup and Yanchep, as rail corridors that have the potential for expansion and use by fast trains.
Improving or extending existing lines, establishing new lines to greenfield residential areas, taking fast rail to regional centres and electrifying lines currently used by diesel trains are all areas the Government has signalled it may finance.
Transport Minister Darren Chester said connecting capitals to regional and even suburban centres with higher speed rail would improve lifestyles for many Australians.
“For the many commuters in regional and outer urban areas, faster rail has the potential to have a significant impact on their quality of life by allowing them to spend more time at home, and less time travelling,” Mr Chester said.
The Perth-Mandurah line, with an average speed of 80km/h an hour, is the third fastest regional link in the country.
It is only behind the more recently constructed Melbourne-Bendigo and Melbourne-Ballarat lines which have both reported surges in patronage since coming into service.
However, the Government is aiming for speeds of between 100km/h and 160km/h an hour, which would bring a Perth Bunbury rail trip to an hour’s commute. The current rail link can take more than three hours.
The Perth-Bunbury link, which both the McGowan Government and the National Party have supported, could be the centrepiece to plans to give commuters an easy ride into the State capital while also boosting regional job opportunities.
The Government hopes to narrow to three the number of potential projects up for possible funding by the end of November.
This article first appeared on thewest.com.au
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