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The Rail Revival Alliances endorses the Airport rail link but clearly identifies the proposed plan as totally inferior to the Rail Futures Institute's plan that would remove regional trains on the Bendigo, Echuca and Swan Hill Line from the congested Metro line between Sunbury and St Albans and give access to the North East line to the Airport.
The Minister for Public Transport and Major Projects has sold out the people of Bendigo, Echuca and Swan Hill and the residents in other towns along the rail corridor by not opting for the Rail Futures Institutes far superior plan for the Airport Rail Link.
The Minister and Premier Andrews decision consigns the commuters on the Bendigo, Swan Hill and Echuca lines to perpetual punctuality issues that have plagued the Bendigo, Swan Hill and Echuca lines because of the single track to Kyneton and Regional trains being caught behind Metro trains.
This is a prime example of having just one opportunity to really complete an incredible project to benefit Victorians but is doomed to mediocrity before the first sod is turned.
The Minster for Public Transport's mantra is 'Connectivity' but the Airport Rail Link is the main course for the Melbourne centric Government an for a Melbourne population and with Geelong and Ballarat thrown in as side dishes.
The Premier's decision to include Geelong and Ballarat in his media event to announce the Airport Rail Link, is due to the fact that at the next state election the seats the government holds in Geelong and Ballarat could go the way of the opposition. The Premier's announcement is just purely designed to impress.
Bendigo, Swan Hill and Echuca commuters to the Airport are still going to have to get off at Sunbury to catch the bus to the Airport or suffer the continued experience and frustration and endure having to sit in a regional train behind a Metro service and then change at Sunshine for an Airport train.
The Rail Futures Institute's plan was a direct link on the Bendigo line from Clarkefield to the Airport enabling regional trains to miss the congestion of the Sunbury to St Albans line and link up with the regional rail lines from Sunshine into Southern Cross.
It is quite apparent that the Minister for Public Transport wants the commuters on the Bendigo line to continue their experience of the lack of punctuality and frustration of travelling to Melbourne by the Regional Rail Revival plan stuck behind Metro trains.
The Federal Government has on provided $5 Billion for the project. However, there is a thinly veiled codisole in the media release the construction of the Airport Rail Link is subject to the re-election of the Andrews Government.
It is interesting that construction will not start for 4 years, which beggars the question why the delay in construction if it is so important? The Federal Government will only fund a certain proportion of the Airport Rail Link. The Federal Government would be concerned at increasing the funding for the Airport Rail Link. Because of the debacle that has been the Murray Basin Rail Project with cost over runs and substandard work on the Mildura line, which has plagued the construction and conversion of the line to standard gauge and has been under the management of the Minister for Major Projects and Pubic Transport.
The Minister for Public Transport should be renegotiating the Airport Rail Link with the Federal Government to incorporate the Rail Futures superior plans into the Airport Rail Link Project. However, the Minister is more interested in the longevity of their political career and would not like to be seen to be rocking the boat.
Rail Revival Alliance Victoria
0439 961 646
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