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A TRAIN service carrying passengers between Geelong and Queenscliff could be reinstated if a lobby group gets its way.
The Ocean Grove Community Association is behind a push for light rail to return to the 30km route, more than 40 years after a previous service was shut down.
The group has issued a pre-election plea to both parties to fund a feasibility study into the idea.
It says the rail link would be a major asset to the Bellarine, boosting tourism and providing an efficient alternative to car travel.
Several possible routes have been proposed, including one travelling via Malop St and the Geelong Botanic Gardens, before linking up with the Bellarine Highway to Queenscliff.
The group also flagged a proposal to reinstate the service between Queensclif and South Geelong that shut down in 1976.
The group says terminals could also be built along the route — including at Leopold, Grubb Rd and Point Lonsdale — and link in with bus services.
Committee member Michael Harbour said the idea was a long-term, community-driven proposal.
“It’d be a more reliable service … and I think it’d also be beneficial for tourism on the Bellarine,” he said.
“People could get off at Geelong station, catch the rail straight away and stop wherever they want.”
Association chairman Phil Edwards said light rail to Queenscliff could coincide with the major parties’ plans to introduce fast rail between Geelong and Melbourne.
He said it could ease parking congestion at Geelong stations, while also reducing traffic on the Bellarine Highway.
The group said it expected a feasibility study would cost less than $500,000.
Despite ithe group’s enthusiasm, Labor has showed no interest in the plan.
A spokeswoman for public transport minister Jacinta Allan said a study into rail options by the previous State Government showed the cost of connections by rail was not feasible.
Opposition public transport spokesman David Davis said the Coalition would be prepared to work with councils and the community on any reasonable proposal.
“The idea of a light rail should not be immediately dismissed but there is significant work to do. Some work was done when the Liberals were last in Government,” the spokesman said.
This article first appeared on www.geelongadvertiser.com.au
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