Region will benefit from big rail plan

29 Aug 2018 Wangaratta Chronicle, Wangaratta VIC (General News) A RE-ELECTED Andrews Labor Government has promised to embark on the biggest transformation of public transport in Australias history, with a new underground rail network set to circle Melbourne connecting every major regional train line through Melbourne Airport. Public Transport Minister Jacinta Allan said regional Victorian passengers will be big winners thanks to regional super-hubs included in the project at Clayton, Broadmeadows and Sunshine, providing better access to jobs, education and health services outside the CBD with 200,000 vehicles also forecast to be removed from major roads. Minister Allan said the ambitious plan will build on the governments $1.75 billion Regional Rail Revival plans that are upgrading every regional passenger line in the state. No longer will people living across Victorias North East and the Goulburn Valley have to travel through the centre of Melbourne to access world-class education and health services, she said. Regional rail users from the Albury, Seymour and Shepparton lines will also be one stop away from Melbourne Airport via a regional super hub in Broadmeadows, providing the connection train users need. Labor upper house member Jaclyn Symes (MLC, Northern Victoria) lauded the project, which will be built over multiple decades. With a regional super hub at Broadmeadows connecting to the Airport, the North East line which we said that wed fight to get fixed, so it can run the modern services locals expect and deserve will be even better, she said. According to details released by the government yesterday, the Suburban Rail Loop will create up to 12 new underground train stations, linking into every existing major suburban and regional line. Government modelling projects strong patronage in both directions throughout the day, with 400,000 trips a day by 2051 set to make it Victorias busiest rail line alongside creating 20,000 jobs. Labor said it will invest an initial $300 million in a full business case, planning and pre-construction works. Exact station locations, route alignment, rolling stock, and staging will be confirmed through the full business case and technical work, including extensive consultation and environmental assessments. Business case development, detailed design and community consultation will commence in 2019, with work on the first stage expected to begin by the end of 2022.