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Geelong and Wyndham residents are facing “significant discomfort” on bursting train services, the mayors of both areas have warned, as they call for action to boost rail capacity.
The leaders say they are “seriously concerned” the state government is leaning towards building Melbourne’s airport rail link without a new tunnel that could handle extra suburban and regional services.
The Herald Sun understands the state and federal governments are close to locking in the design of the long-awaited project, likely to see airport trains running into the CBD via the Metro Tunnel.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews have been negotiating the airport rail route. Picture: Stefan Postles (AAP)But supporters of a separate airport rail tunnel — which a powerful consortium backed by super fund giant IFM Investors is pitching to build — have intensified their last-ditch lobbying effort.
Geelong Mayor Stephanie Asher and Wyndham Mayor Josh Gilligan said their communities were frustrated because information about the government’s plans was “sorely lacking”.
“We believe a new tunnel is the only viable solution to increase capacity for more trains to travel between Sunshine and the CBD and accommodate the growing west of Melbourne and allow future delivery of faster rail regional Victoria,” they said, in a letter obtained by the Herald Sun.
The state government maintains all options on the table allow for increased services to the western suburbs and improved regional rail.
“All options being assessed for the airport rail will stop at Sunshine for connections to Victoria’s major regional lines, such as Geelong, Ballarat and Bendigo,” a spokeswoman said.
With patronage on the Geelong line surging by 131 per cent in just five years, Cr Asher and Cr Gilligan called on the government to respond to the “unprecedented demand” for extra rail services identified in its own Western Rail Plan.
This article first appeared on www.heraldsun.com.au
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