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Regional councils have taken a plan for 200kmh trains to the state and federal governments, pushing to increase employment opportunities by creating a reliable and frequent 45-minute trip to Ballarat.
The City of Ballarat is one of five councils that are part of the City of Greater Geelong's proposal to revolutionise rail to the regions, as well as Bendigo, Shepparton, and Latrobe City, within seven years.
The 'Stronger Together' plan calls to include electrified regional fast rail in plans for the $10 billion Tullamarine Airport Rail Link.
The retro-fitted electric trains would cut the trip from Ballarat to Sunshine to just 46 minutes, and the total trip to the city to 56 minutes.
However, the state government, which recently announced $100 million for its own Western Rail Plan, said this was not achievable.
The report details the economic opportunities fast rail would bring, addressing the disparity between Melbourne and the regions in employment, and uses similar projects in Toronto and London, as well as the Oresund Sea Bridge connecting Denmark and Sweden, as examples of how to unlock benefits through fast rail.
It notes the "critical tunnel design decisions could 'make or break' regional fast commuter rail.
"The centrality of the inner west fast rail tunnel for delivering an overall Victorian regional fast rail vision cannot be overstated," it reads.
"The design of this tunnel is on foot now, as part of Tullamarine Fast Rail project. Due attention to ensuring that this tunnel has sufficient future-proofed capacity and access points for regional city fast rail services is the single most important near-term requirement for regional fast rail."
The Committee for Ballarat chairman Nick Beale, who has long pushed for a sub-one hour train to Ballarat, said the plan had been in the works for about a year.
This article first appeared on www.mailtimes.com.au
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