'Half-baked' plan: Labor jumps on board fast rail

THE state government announced its plan to bring fast rail to regional Victoria yesterday, but the proposal holds little mention of the Swan Hill or Bendigo lines.

Initial investment is instead focussed primarily on Geelong and Ballarat services. 

Premier Daniel Andrews outlined plans to bring fast rail to the two regional cities and a new, electrified line to link Melton and Wyndham Vale — currently serviced by V/Line — with the metropolitan line. 

The state government has announced its plan for regional rail, but Swan Hill was off track. Picture: PETER BANNAN

The state government has announced its plan for regional rail, but Swan Hill was off track. Picture: PETER BANNAN

The proposal was the government's response to the state Coalition's recent $19 billion proposal to bring European-style fast-rail network to Victoria, reducing travel times from Swan Hill to Melbourne to under three hours by 2022. 

A key priority of the project is untangling the regional and metropolitan rail lines in Melbourne's west through the delivery of new, separate metropolitan lines and "giving" regional trains and lines to regional passengers. 

The plan promises "fast rail to other regional cities in the future" and links in with planned upgrades to regional lines such as Bendigo and Echuca which are set to undergo a range of works under the government's $1.75 billion Regional Rail Revival program. 

To read more of this story, grab a copy of the October 17 edition of The Guardian. 

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