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The project which began back in 2011 shifted V/Line services between Southern Cross and Sunshine onto separate tracks from Metro trains, allowing for increased train capacity as well as improved punctuality.
The Victorian Auditor General’s report, which was released on Thursday, highlighted that “the project has not yet fully realised some specific benefits articulated in the Victorian Government’s 2013 booklet Regional Rail Link Benefits for Victorians”.
The report also highlighted planning work done prior to construction did not adequately predict the jump in demand which would be generated by the upgrades.
“Ultimately, any increase in regional services will be limited by platform availability at Southern Cross Station and the designed maximum capacity of the RRL tracks between Sunshine and central Melbourne stations,” the report said. “A future electrification of Melton services would free up paths and platform space for longer‐distance services on the Ballarat corridor.”
Works being undertaken at Sunshine Station in 2014.
Outer metropolitan customers, particularly on the Geelong line, were among the big winners from the investment as new stations were added to service Melbourne’s expanding west.
Rail Futures Institute president John Hearsch said while the link had critically separated V/Line and Metro trains between the city and Sunshine, “the government need to get ahead of the game, not stay behind it”. He said further efforts to shift Metro and V/Line trains further down the line would ultimately be needed.
“It was always intended the development would continue and what’s been built is only a first stage,” Mr Hearsch said. “To some extent RRL has helped to stimulate growth which is a positive, but it’s incumbent on the government to move on quickly.”
This article first appeared on www.thecourier.com.au
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