Just thought i'd share a quote from Brumby in one of the many press releases over the past few days:
“Since we completed the Regional Fast Rail project there has been a renaissance in regional rail and today more people than ever before are travelling on our regional trains. That’s why we are making the right investments now to plan for growth on the regional rail network.”
For god sake places like Sunbury, Melton & Pakenham are not regional! Not sure about you, but as a taxpayer I am sick of my money being spent on expensive Vlo's to carry commuters from areas that should be served exclusive by sparks, yet true regional areas, such as Echuca, Shepparton, Maryborough & Warrnambool current connections to and from the city are laughable.
They're really missing the point there. Melton, Sunbury and Pakenham are all considered outer-metro, not Regional/country. (Melton is/was a Satellite City, after all!)
Aside from Sunbury-ites, obviously, Melton would welcome sparks with open arms. Better frequency etc is always welcome. Yes, the EMU stock isn't as cushy as the N sets (on par with Sprinters/V/Los though) but I know I'd rather walk up to the station and have a train there more often than not, than have to wait 40 minutes for the next one, which is usually packed to the brim anyway!
Any wonder most people pack into Albion to ride a spark into the city, from Caroline Springs, Deer Park and Ardeer. That close to a spark line (Sydenham) yet drive 5 minutes down the road means the difference between a train every 10 minutes or 30-40 that rarely stops (Deer Park/Ardeer)...
At least electrify out to Caroline Springs, as a start, with a massive Park and Ride car park.