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Wyndham council has strongly opposed plans for an above ground rail link between Tullamarine Airport and Sunshine, claiming it would “starve” the west of reliable rail services.
The state and federal governments are reportedly finalising plans for the multibillion-dollar airport rail link, amid concern that plans for a rail tunnel between Sunshine and the airport will be scrapped.
This means trains would be wedged on to already congested tracks between the city and Sunshine and would enter the CBD via the new $11 billion Metro Tunnel. A new track between Tullamarine and Sunshine would be built.
Rail experts have said the tunnel option is the only way to relieve pressure on existing western suburbs tracks, and is necessary for an efficient airport train service and fast trains to Geelong, Ballarat and Bendigo.
Wyndham mayor Josh Gilligan labelled the above ground option a “sh** deal” for Wyndham and Geelong saying it would “starve” the region of reliable rail services.
“Wyndham council will oppose any deal that does not address the problem of overcrowded carriages and does not increase the frequency of rail services for our residents,” Cr Gilligan said.
“Our trains are packed to capacity and we need more frequent services to meet the growing city’s demands.
“The benefit of a rail link to the airport should not compromise Wyndham’s urgent need for additional rail services.
“We need more rail services for the 66 percent of Wyndham workers who leave the municipality every day for work – and for our students and families who need to travel to the city daily.
“We need to end our commuter crush and receive a clear timeline from state and federal governments as to when we are going to get more train services in the west.”
Last year, the Victorian government committed to fund the planning stage of the Western Rail Plan, which would include electrifying the Wyndham Vale line and adding capacity between Sunshine and Melbourne to run extra services for the west.
“The State Government needs to deliver on that project,” Cr Gilligan said.
“Improvements to Wyndham’s train services will solve our urgent transport needs and provide more opportunity for economic growth and improved livability.”
This article first appeared on www.starweekly.com.au
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