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BALLARAT Mayor David Vendy has told knockers of the multi-million dollar fast rail project to "shut up".
He says critics should let communities along the Ballarat rail corridor get on with the job of reaping the rewards of the major project.
"They should shut up," Cr Vendy said.
"Let's get on with something that we all believe in and make sure it's the best possible service.
"There's a lot of knockers around Victoria hell-bent on criticising the project.
"Whether it's political or whether it's just the tall-poppy syndrome or whether it's that people think the government should be criticised for spending money in regional Victoria - I don't know."
The mayor's comments came in the wake of recent media reports attacking the project after the new 160kmh V/Locity trains were found to be too loud and were sent back to the manufacturer for modifications.
The regional rail project has also been dogged with criticism for cost blowouts and delays.
The State Government is spending $750 million to upgrade the tracks from Melbourne to Ballarat, Bendigo, Geelong and Traralgon while another $525 million is being spent on new fast trains.
The project is expected to be on track for commuters in mid-2006.
Cr Vendy said Ballarat businesses and industry were set to benefit from the major upgrade to rail services, which would bolster population growth and tourism.
"It's going to be absolutely fantastic for Ballarat," he said.
"The fast train is giving us two express services a day. We're happy with that.
"Being an ex-railway person, there are so many communities on that line and you need to have a balance with a variety of services for everybody."
Cr Vendy also defended the cost of the project, stating "safety was paramount".
"In addition, Ballarat industrial support services also stand to benefit from the $9 million contract awarded to Alstom Australia, to fit the new Country Train Safety System to all V/Line passenger trains, including the new V/Locity trains," he said.
Ballarat will receive a 64-minute express service to Melbourne.
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