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THE State Government has said the only way Geelong will get fast rail is to use the Werribee line to run 40-minute rail services to Melbourne.
In a return to a rail alignment preceding 2015, Geelong trains could run via Newport in Melbourne’s inner west, possibly using the $11 billion yet-to-be-completed Metro Tunnel to access the CBD.
Senior Labor and Bellarine MP Lisa Neville said using the Werribee alignment was critical to delivering fast rail to Geelong.
“The only way you can deliver fast rail is to do the Werribee corridor, there’s no question about it. If we want to get in Geelong 40-minute services, we have to do it that way,” Ms Neville told the Geelong Advertiser.
“There’s no question if you go the Werribee corridor it’s much shorter — it’s 8km shorter than going the Sunshine corridor if you’re going to Melbourne.”
The revelation comes as Ms Neville hosed down hopes the reportedly imminent announcement of the Melbourne Airport Rail Link design will include a privately owned tunnel that would ultimately pave the way for fast rail to Geelong and Ballarat.
However Victorian Senator Sarah Henderson said the State Government had deserted regional Victoria by abandoning the private tunnel plan.
“Reports that Premier Daniel Andrews will walk away from agreeing to a high speed rail tunnel between Sunshine and Southern Cross Station are alarming,” Sen Henderson said.
“This is vital for the provision of a faster, more reliable passenger train services for Geelong, Ballarat and Bendigo as well as western Melbourne. Labor’s reported plan represents a shocking betrayal of the people of regional Victoria and western Melbourne.”
The State Government is currently assessing a $7 billion offer from a consortium including Metro Trains and Melbourne Airport that proposes to build a tunnel through inner Melbourne that would used by trains to the airport.
This article first appeared on www.geelongadvertiser.com.au
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