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Liberals’ Regional Rail Plan Keeps Unravelling

05 October 2018

Liberal Leader Matthew Guy’s regional rail plan is only 48 hours old and it already has more holes than Swiss cheese.

Regional Victorians well know that the Liberals and Nationals closed these vital passenger rail services. Victorians also remember that when the Liberals make promises about rail, they never happen. The Liberals promised Rowville rail, Doncaster rail and Avalon rail – but they were never delivered.

The latest example is the Liberals claiming they will return passenger rail services to Mildura, Horsham and Hamilton, while their own policy document clearly states that won’t happen.

The Liberals’ regional rail plan has more holes by the day and includes:

  • Claiming they would use Melbourne Airport Rail Link (which won’t be completed until at least 2027) to help deliver fast rail to Geelong, Ballarat and Bendigo – but promising to deliver these services before airport rail is actually completed
  • Admitting the plan needs tunnels but unable to say where they will be or how long they will be. [NB: a rail tunnel costs around a billion dollars a kilometre, even more for V/Line diesel trains with the additional exhaust and safety measures required].
  • Ruling out elevated rail on the Gippsland line and instead proposing a tunnel from Dandenong through to Caulfield. [NB. See above on tunnel costs - there goes your $19 billion even before you get to regional Victoria].
  • Promising that no house or land acquisition would be required to enable 200km/h trains to run, despite needing new, straighter rail corridors to deliver the plan. [NB: The current rail corridor between Melbourne and Geelong is curved and can’t handle 200km/h trains].
  • Refusing to come clean that cutting the commute time between Geelong and Melbourne would mean cutting stops in the suburbs of Wyndham Vale, Tarneit, Deer Park, denying thousands of Victorians this vital service.
  • Not admitting that to achieve Geelong to Melbourne in 32 minutes would take at least seven years and need to include new 35km metro tracks from Sunshine to Wyndham Vale and a new rail tunnel in to the CBD.

Even his own team are confused about what’s going on, with Member for South-West Coast Roma Britnell telling ABC Radio:

“Matthew Guy is on radio all over Victoria… and this level of detail is sufficiently being put out for people to understand that this is doable.”

Quotes attributable to the Minister for Public Transport Jacinta Allan

“Guy’s rail plan has more holes than Swiss Cheese and with a history of cuts and closures, regional Victorians are right to be doubtful.”

“We’re delivering real projects and planning for our next big build, that will bring more trains more often, to get Victorians where they need to go sooner.”

Reviewed 19 August 2020

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