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The community of one of the fastest growing regions in Victoria has been without a train line for decades and as the population increases, locals are calling for it to reopen.
Bass Coast residents are renewing their call for a much-needed transport upgrade with the areas population expected to rise by 37 per cent by 2035.
The region has been without a train line for more than 40 years after the Wonthaggi railway was shut in 1978.
Bass state Labor MP Jordan Crugnale said reopening the train line would be too costly.
But with an increase in development and rising population, some residents have said the transport system deserves the overhaul.
A public poll conduted on The Bass Coast News Facebook page found an overwhelming majority wanted a train service to reopen in the area.
The renewed calls come three years after the community presented a 1236-signature petition for a train line to Bass Coast Shire Council in September 2017, where the push for transport improvements were unanimously supported by councillors.
The petition detailed the need for a Cranbourne Pakenham train line extension that included stops in Koo Wee Rup and Phillip Island due to the population expansion.
Commenting on the poll Tracie Collier said she has been travelling into Melbourne for the past seven years by bus.
“As someone who travelled to Melbourne every day for seven years, the bus system just takes far too long,” Ms Collier said.
“A train would make it much better.”
Vicki Ransom, who used the Wonthaggi railway line when she was younger, said the Bass Coast would benefit from a fast train.
“A fast train to Melbourne as they have in Japan would be amazing,” she said.
“People in Japan travel and live many kilometres from where they work because of the fast trains so let’s open up the area so more people can live in regional towns.”
Ms Ransom said the train line should have never have stopped.
“The city is overcrowded and this has definitely been evident during COVID-19,” she said.
“We need to decentralise and fast trains could do it.”
But Ms Crugnale said while there had been a lot of talk over the years about returning the train line to both Wonthaggi and Leongatha, “realistically,” any resumption of trains in the corridor would be “costly and require a massive upgrade”.
Ms Crugnale said electric shuttle buses could be considered and would run to metro stations like Cranbourne, Pakenham and neighbouring service centres.
“Many alternatives have been suggested and with advances in technology we can seriously consider electric shuttle buses, timetabled to better meet the need of how we now move around,” she said.
“It is important to start from where are we needing to go, for what reasons and what is the best, most economical and cleanest way to get us there and back.”
Bass Coast chief executive Ali Wastie said the council was working with the Department of Transport on a number of localised issues impacting the public transport network.
“Council recognises the importance for our community of a connected public transport system and we continue to advocate for better public transport connections within Bass Coast and more broadly,” Ms Wastie said.
This article first appeared on www.heraldsun.com.au
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