The Victorian 2019/2020 budget will invest $100 million to deliver the detailed planning and design works in order to deliver the full separation of regional and metro services on the Geelong and Ballarat lines.
Separation of the lines will mean fewer stops, faster trips and less crowded trains.
Minister for Transport Jacinta Allan said, “The Western Rail Plan is one of the vital projects our growing city and state needs – electrifying the rail lines to the west to run more services to our booming suburbs and a step towards fast rail to Geelong and Ballarat.”
The Western Rail Plan will also look at express fast rail services on the Geelong and Ballarat lines. This includes the potential full electrification of the lines with new electric regional rolling stock.
The investment will continue the technical work required to deliver two new electrified metro lines to Melton and Wyndham Vale. The Wyndham Vale line could potentially become the western section of the Suburban Rail Loop.
Additional tracks between Sunshine and the CBD would enable more trains to run potentially through a new tunnel as part of the Melbourne Airport rail link.
The Victorian Government has already established a Geelong Fast Rail Reference Group which includes community representatives and stakeholders.
The group will aid Rail Projects Victoria asses fast rail options with wider community consultation to begin later this year.
Staging of the Western Rail Plan is being considered alongside the planning underway for the Melbourne Airport Rail Link business case, which is due in 2020.
“It’s part of our suburban rail and road blitz that is slashing congestion, boosting services and creating thousands of jobs,” Ms. Allan said.
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