New train commitment a boost for Gippsland
Gippsland Nationals MPs say a Liberal National commitment to build new trains for all long-haul lines, including the Bairnsdale line, will improve poor conditions for passengers and make Gippsland a more attractive destination for visitors and new residents.
The Nationals Member for Gippsland South, Danny O’Brien, said Sale and Wellington Shire would be big beneficiaries of the first renewal of long-haul trains since the 1980s.
The Liberal and Nationals Coalition today committed $633 million to build new, Victorian-made long-haul variants of the successful VLocity trains already running on the Traralgon line.
"Sale and Wellington Shire passengers have been putting up with trains that break down and air conditioning that doesn't work for too long now.
"These new trains will bring VLine services up to modern expectations and deliver our passengers a faster, more reliable and more comfortable experience that will make rail travel more attractive and help bring people to visit and live in our region.
“The 16 new, six-carriage sets will be capable of travelling up to 160kmh and the first units will roll off the production line in 2021,” Mr O’Brien said.
The Nationals Member for Gippsland East, Tim Bull, said new rolling stock would benefit passengers in his electorate from Heyfield, Maffra and Stratford, as well as those in East Gippsland.
"This is a fantastic announcement - the new trains will be quicker, getting passengers to Melbourne faster, more reliable and have greater carrying capacity to meet increasing demand. Currently the four carriage sets carry around 282 passengers, but these six carriage sets will have seats for 444.
"With air conditioning that will work and modern buffet facilities, travelling to and from Melbourne will be a much more enjoyable experience. The Nationals in Coalition have worked hard for this and it is very pleasing to be able to make this commitment."
Mr O’Brien, who as Chair of the Coalition’s Population Policy Taskforce is working on decentralisation policy, said this was the first step in The Nationals plan to revolutionise regional rail.
"There’s plenty more to be done and we'll have more to say about other Gippsland rail infrastructure and service needs ahead of this year's election."