21st century rail service

Issues

The existing V/Line diesel rail service has a  low passenger-carrying capacity, and although  State Government funding has been allocated  to the duplication of the rail line, population figures will soon outstrip the capacity of the rail service.

Data from the Department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport and Resources states that 45 per cent of work journeys from residents were to Melbourne and Brimbank Council areas.

Since 2006, commuters from the municipality have increased by 1,537 to 4,416. It is expected that the number of commuters using the rail service will continue to rise as new estates  are constructed.

Many trains currently operating at peak period on the Ballarat rail line are overcrowded.

It is expected that with the massive growth occurring in the City of Melton, V/Line service  will be unable to cope with the projected increase in patron numbers.

Rationale

The increased patronage on the Ballarat rail  line, combined with population growth in the  City of Melton, make the need for more carrying capacity on the Melton rail line urgent.

Opportunities

Melton City Council calls on the State Government to commit by 2020 to electrify  the Melton rail line, and provide more  frequent train services.

The upgrade of the rail line will benefit the regional and local community by increasing access to surrounding areas and access to Melbourne’s CBD. 

The upgrade of the Melton rail line will allow  CBD bound commuters from Ballarat to have less than 60 minute travel times to Southern Cross Train Station. It will also improve connectivity running the other way, drawing  city based business and investment to Melton and the Toolern Metropolitan Activity Centre.

Electrification will make it possible for train frequency to double so that trains can run during peak times every 10 minutes. Electrification will also enable the addition  of new train stations, as proposed in Plan Melbourne 2017-2050.

 Furthermore, the immediate electrification  of the Melton train line will:

  • increase mobility and access to education, employment, training and leisure opportunities
  • reduce traffic volumes and associated road accidents, noise and disruption
  • reduce the number of passengers driving  to the Sunbury line to access metropolitan services, and
  • release capacity via Regional Rail Link tracks  for additional services from regional centres.

The construction of nominated new train stations along the line is also seen as crucial, particularly within the Toolern Metropolitan Activity Centre where the station is seen as  a key economic growth enabler.

Key priority

Council calls on the State Government to ensure that electrification is in place to coincide with the increased capacity that the metro rail system will have when the metro tunnel project is completed. 

Council calls on the State Government to undertake any feasibility or business case in the next three years.