It may surprise some but at one stage Department of Transport did have a very good regional transport planning and services group who were proactive in developing initiatives to maximise the investment of the Regional Fast Rail Project and delivered the new reginal train and road coach timetable through 2006. They even undertook numerous workshops with users and the community across regional Victoria. From this 2 hours travel was considered the upper end of daily commuting potential to Melbourne and about 1 hour travel time for daily commuting travel into regional centres such as Ballarat, Bendigo etc. some rail pagers will recall the new commuter timed trips added into Ballarat and Bendigo and as referred to earlier the revamped Echuca service which has loads of daily commuters out of Echuca , Elmore and Rochester. This was part of the thinking for the Maryborough service. If you look closely you'll see similar services operated by road coach and/or train out of Colac to Geelong and wan garrotte into Albury/Wodonga plus several others.
Sadly that unit has effectively gone under PTV and the current Government doesn't appear to have the appetite to want to pursue this. So at 2 hours as a guide establishing commuter timed trips from Maryborough to Melbourne is really not going to happen. Spend about 35 to 40 million on level crossing upgrades and some associated minor track upgrade on the Shepparton Corridor for 130km per hour VLocity operations to deliver a trip time of 2 hours and 5 minutes and a whole new corridor for commuting to Melbourne from Shep, Nagambie and even Murchison East and associated communities has very significant potential.
Totally agree with the above statement...
I well know the former Unit within the old DOT, the head of that Unit is now working elsewhere where his talents are recognised on the International rail scene and I was the former volunteer community rep for Ballan.
In effect I was the liaison between the Ballan community and V/Line during the RFR development stages. There were several community workshops with each station the RFR serves having a community rep and meetings to discuss and receive feedback at the various developmental stages of the RFR.
The head of that now defunct Unit has become a friend of mine.
Part of the reason the Napthine government isn't pursuing the extra commuter services on the Maryborough line is to do with setting up of the extra crews and the acquisition of rolling stock to operate the service.
Strangely enough with the first of the new VLocity cars scheduled to be delivered somewhere around the middle of the year, I'd not be surprised to see a push from the government to implement another Maryborough service, including a weekend return just in time for the November election.