It feels like some countries see public transport as a public good and put a genuine commitment to improving their railways.
Even the U.S. arguably has a better railway system than Australia, where you can travel vast distances across the continent affordably on Amtrak, whereas Journey Beyond has become an expensive tourist operation that does not serve ordinary Australians living nearby.
Meanwhile in Victoria none of the V/Line lines are electrified, many country towns had their rail links to Melbourne removed in the late 20th century due to Austerity measures. While there have been significant improvements to V/Line in recent years such as Regional Rail Link/Regional Fast Rail and procurement of VLocity trains, it pales in comparison to rail journey’s overseas. I feel like governments do the bare minimum to improve public transport, and even small steps like duplicating lines, improving signalling, or better timetabling could easily be done but often doesn’t happen.
There never seems to be any serious consideration to electrifying the entire V/Line network let alone just the main commuter branches like Geelong and Ballarat. There is no consideration of reopening or reintroducing regular passenger services on former lines to areas like Healesville, Horsham, Mildura, Leongatha etc. (Let alone brand new lines).
Even the ride quality on the track bed’s on Victorian rail lines are so much worse than in countries overseas - I’ve never felt my seat bump up and down as violently as I have on trains in Australia…
I think if Victoria tried it could have a functional transport system that serves its users better more like say Scandinavia so I wonder why the willpower just isn’t there?