Stopping all stations – to Clayton?
Gippsland Nationals MPs have called on the Andrews Labor Government to rule out any plans to terminate Gippsland trains at Clayton or Pakenham under its proposed new suburban rail loop.
The Labor Party outlined a pre-election promise last week that would establish a suburban rail loop ring around Melbourne and trumpeted that it would include “regional super-hubs”, including one at Clayton for Gippsland trains.
In State Parliament today The Nationals Member for Gippsland South, Danny O’Brien, called on the Andrews Labor Government to guarantee that this won’t mean future Gippsland trains will terminate at Clayton, or even worse, Pakenham. His views were echoed by The Nationals Member for Gippsland East, Tim Bull.
“Gippslanders are angry that Labor is pushing this $50 billion plus project without spending a cent to address congestion through the suburbs that makes the Gippsland line the worst performing in the state for punctuality,” Mr O’Brien said.
“But they will be incensed if Labor also plans to terminate Gippsland trains at Clayton as part of these plans. A number of people have already raised this concern with me.”
“The government has form on this issue, with a report in 2016 recommending Gippslanders get off at Pakenham and be forced onto Metro services. The idea was dropped after a backlash from Gippslanders. The transport bureaucracy also raised the idea some years earlier but it was immediately quashed by The Nationals in government.”
Mr Bull said Labor needed to be unequivocal that Bairnsdale line trains will continue all the way to Southern Cross.
“It alarms me that Daniel Andrews, Public Transport Minister Jacinta Allan and Labor’s Harriet Shing are talking up these ‘super-hubs’. Labor needs to rule out immediately any plan to terminate Gippsland trains at the junction of the proposed new suburban loop,” he said.
Mr O’Brien said the Liberals and Nationals would refer the idea for an outer suburban loop from Frankston to Werribee to Infrastructure Victoria to see if it stacks up.
“There may be benefits in this idea but let’s see what the independent infrastructure adviser thinks. The Nationals are focussed on fixing the Gippsland line and have committed $8 million to a business case into a dedicated track for Gippsland trains through the suburbs to fix the major cause of delays for our trains.”
Mr Bull said The Nationals had also committed $633 million to build new long-haul VLocity trains to service the Bairnsdale line.
“The poor state of the old rolling stock is a regular complaint that I get. We will replace the old diesels with new, modern, fast and comfortable trains.”