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The Andrews government has pitched a bold new high-speed rail plan that will zip passengers from Geelong to Melbourne in less than 40 minutes.
But the idea has been quickly derided by opponents who say Premier Daniel Andrews will have his seniors card by the time such a network is running.
The premier on Thursday announced the government is looking at separating regional and suburban shared tracks west of Melbourne to create a dedicated high-speed express service to ensure people can get to Geelong in record time.
"You can have a dedicated track for high-speed express type services and then you can have world-class services that are more for local communities for shorter journeys," Mr Andrews told reporters in Geelong on Thursday.
"If you can separate those out, you have greater opportunity for fast rail, genuinely fast rail, sub-40-minute fast rail to Geelong firstly and then Ballarat beyond that."
The opposition slammed the high-speed rail plan as a "media stunt".
"Geelong kids who are currently in grade one will be 25-years-old before Daniel Andrews' thought bubble is supposed to be completed," opposition public transport spokesman David Davis told AAP.
"This is an insult to the intelligence of people living in Geelong."
Mr Andrews said the co-ordinator-general is looking into the plan in conjunction with an airport rail link, which is tipped to begin construction within a decade and is likely to take a detour via Sunshine in Melbourne's west, instead of going direct to the airport, the premier said.
"(We are considering) using the extra capacity that the airport rail link provides to both electrify parts of western Melbourne that are not part of the current metro electrified network," he said.
"This about providing different projects that have the same aim, combining them together and getting the planning done properly."
Mr Andrews said he will have more to say about the details of the project, including costs, in 2018.
This article first appeared on www.9news.com.au
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