A re-elected Victorian Coalition Government will give the biggest boost to Gippsland ‘s trains in 60 years with new train trips to be added to timetables on the Traralgon and Bairnsdale lines and more than four kilometres of single line to be duplicated between Bunyip and Longwarry, Minister for Public Transport Terry Mulder announced today.
“The Victorian Coalition Government wants to double V/Line’s long distance train patronage within 20 years.”
“Commencing in 2016/17, the Coalition will introduce an additional 79 weekly V/Line trips on eight long distance country rail lines – Albury, Ararat, Echuca, Maryborough, Shepparton, Swan Hill and Warrnambool as well as Bairnsdale.
Highlights on the Traralgon and Bairrnsdale lines include:
- an extra weekday return peak period train departing Traralgon at 5.35am, stopping all stations
- on the return, this new weekday train will depart Southern Cross at 5.10pm and stop all stations, allowing the 4.58pm train to run express from Dandenong to Drouin and then stop all stations to Traralgon
- an increased weekend train frequency on weekends with three additional return trains on Saturdays and four extra each way on Sundays, increasing train frequencies between 7am and 11pm on Saturdays and 8am and 9pm on Sundays
- extending the 6.37am weekday train from Traralgon to originate at Sale at 6am
- extending the 3.19pm Southern Cross to Traralgon train to Sale, arriving at 6.20pm
- a new Sunday return train at 9.25am from Southern Cross to Sale and Bairnsdale where it will arrive at 1.10pm, with an extra train departing Bairnsdale at 2.00pm , arriving at Southern Cross at 5.45pm
Mr Mulder said that the duplication of the Bunyip to Longwarry section of single track would benefit passengers by improving train punctuality on the Traralgon and Bairnsdale lines.
“Bunyip and Longwarry stations will each receive a new second platform with at least a 20 metre long canopy on each to protect waiting passengers from the elements,” Mr Mulder said.
Member for Morwell Russell Northe said that the extra trains and track duplication would be a huge boost for the Latrobe Valley.
“Weekday commuters and weekend leisure travellers alike will be winners. The Latrobe Valley has strong links with not just Melbourne’s CBD but also Dandenong, so more frequent trains is a marvellous move,” Mr Northe said.
Deputy Premier and Member for Gippsland South Peter Ryan said that the new timetable would formally bring Sale into V/Line’s commuter belt.
“The extra train trips are all about making it easier to work and study.
Member for Gippsland East Tim Bull said that Bairnsdale had already benefited from the additional two weekday return V/Line road coaches introduced earlier in 2014 between Traralgon, Sale and Bairnsdale.
“The extra Sunday trains help residents to have a choice of trains to get them to or from Melbourne for the start of the working week,” Mr Bull said.
Member for Narracan Gary Blackwood was thrilled with the announcement.
“For a long time, the community has asked me why the track between Bunyip and Longwarry was only a single line. It is a regular cause of train delays that under a re-elected Victorian Coalition Government will consigned to the history books,” Mr Blackwood said.
“Because Traralgon line trains share tracks with Metro trains between Pakenham and Southern Cross, it is vital that the V/Line trains from Warragul and Drouin arrive Pakenham on time or very close to it to avoid being delayed by a suburban train pulling out just ahead of the V/Line train.
“Having two tracks between Bunyip and Longwarry will be very helpful to improving train punctuality on the Traralgon and Bairnsdale lines,” Mr Blackwood said.
Mr Mulder said that the Coalition would also provide V/Line with capital funding to construct a secure train stabling compound at Sale and additional train crew facilities at Bairnsdale.
“This will keep the train that will stable overnight at Sale free from the scourge of Vandalism and graffiti,” Mr Mulder said.
Mr Mulder said that the Coalition would also investigate providing improved airconditioning to V/Line’s N set carriages that were the mainstay of V/Line’s long distance trains.
“We will make a decision on this within a year of being re-elected,” Mr Mulder said.