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Suzanna Sheed fears the Shepparton rail line service is still on the ‘‘backburner.’’
Ms Sheed welcomed a Greater Shepparton City Council push for a business case to be funded to help secure $186million to double the Shepparton line’s service in the 2018-19 state budget.
The State Member for Shepparton said that if a business case was not included in next month’s Victorian state budget, the cost would not be so prohibitive as to not be funded at another time during the year.
The day after a parliamentary inquiry where overcrowding on the state’s busiest rail lines received attention, Ms Sheed remained concerned at where the Shepparton line sat on the Victorian Government’s list of priorities.
‘‘My concern was that the Shepparton rail (line) is still not a very high priority on the government’s agenda,’’ she said.
‘‘Reflected by the fact the mobile towers announced are all happenning within the radius of Melbourne,
‘‘While (passengers) might have coverage up to Seymour, what about after? That’s indicative that our service is still very much on the backburner.’’
Earlier this week, the government revealed plans to fix mobile blackspots along regional rail corridors, but little mention was made of the journey between Seymour and Shepparton.
Ms Sheed said she wanted to see the business case for work to move the line to eight return services daily completed as a priority, whether as part of the budget or as ‘‘part of the storyline through the year.’’
‘‘We’re not going to get significant work unless the business case is done... I do see that as the next step,’’ she said.
A study commissioned by the council had earlier found $186million would be needed to bring the Shepparton train line up to eight return services per day over the next decade.
The council has voted to request Shepparton rail corridor infrastructure upgrades be included in the 2018-19 Victorian budget, following a request that the government fund the necessary business case for infrastructure upgrades in the 2017-18 budget.
Ms Sheed said funding commited to a business case didn’t necessarily preclude the provision of extra daily services for the line.
Seymour and Shepparton line services, while not found to be as overcrowded as other lines, were full on return services departing Melbourne between 4.30pm and 6pm at busy points on the journey, according to recent data.
This article first appeared on www.sheppnews.com.au
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