Regional Rail

Background

The Gippsland Local Government Network (GLGN) recently identified regional rail as its number one investment priority.

The Gippsland Rail runs through the shire with stations at Longwarry, Drouin, Warragul, Yarragon and Trafalgar.

Situation Analysis

Gippsland’s rail is the slowest and most unreliable regional service in Victoria. In 2016 the fastest service from Warragul to Melbourne was 88 minutes, six minutes slower than the same journey in 1990. V/Line trains are often delayed closer to Melbourne as they share the track with metropolitan services.

Gippsland’s travel times compare poorly with Ballarat, Bendigo and Geelong. This limits residents’ access to high-value CBD jobs, specialist health services, and tertiary education. With no time advantage over road, poor rail services adds to increasing road congestion.

High-speed, reliable rail could also create new opportunities for rail-based tourism.

What is Needed?

Council supports the GLGN project recommendations, which include the immediate commissioning of an independent study in to the quadruplication of the Dandenong Rail Corridor, additional peak period services and additional services on Sundays.

Long-term, the Gippsland Rail Needs Study identifies the need to duplicate the single line between Bunyip and Longwarry, eliminating the 65km/h speed restriction, the need to quadruple the track between Caulfield and Dandenong, reducing trip times by 15 minutes, and the need for a 4km overtaking line between Beaconsfield and Officer, allowing regional trains to overtake frequently stopping metropolitan services.

Council also supports additional car parking at Trafalgar, Yarragon and Longwarry Railway Stations to accommodate future residential growth and increased patronage.

Cost

$12.5m immediate investment to implement the GLGN project recommendations.