Hi John, it seems to be behind a paywall - would you mind giving us a summary?
Train trips between Melbourne and Geelong will finally be slashed to less than an hour, as the state government matches Scott Morrison’s $2bn commitment for the fast rail overhaul. The dream of a quicker commute between the two cities will become a reality through the construction of an express track between Werribee and Laverton that will wipe up to 23 minutes off travel times. Once the project is complete, the Herald Sun can reveal commuters will spend 50 minutes travelling between Melbourne and Geelong, with future upgrades aimed to cut the journey to just 40 minutes.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Premier Daniel Andrews on Saturday will announce the $4bn first stage of the Geelong fast rail project, with construction set to begin in 2023. The federal government had previously committed $2bn towards fast rail in the region, with Victoria to match the offer in Tuesday’s state budget. When the first stage is completed, most Geelong trains will run through Werribee and Newport, rather than Wyndham Vale, along a path 8km shorter than the existing route. These trains will travel along the newly built dedicated express track between Werribee and Laverton to allow for faster speeds and less congestion on the railway.
Some services will continue to run through the current route, giving Geelong commuters more options to access jobs centres and the airport rail connection at Sunshine. The change will also better connect Melbourne’s western booming suburbs and free up space for more services in the area. Premier Daniel Andrews said the project would be historic for Victoria. “This project has been talked about for a long time, its key to our recovery and this design means it will benefit all Victorians,” he said. “As we continue our recovery, we need a long-term plan. We need a pipeline of jobs for Victorians looking for work now, and for those who will need jobs in the future. We said we’d deliver this project, and we’re keeping our promise.”
Mr Morrison said Geelong was expected to grow by nearly 50 per cent over the next three decades. “We want commuters to spend less time travelling and more time with loved ones and the faster rail corridor provides a better transport link for urban and regional communities,” he said. Of Geelong residents who work in inner Melbourne, 63 per cent commute to their job by train.