Lining up for better rail link

March 30, 2018

Greater Shepparton City Council Chief Executive Officer, Peter Harriott and Mayor, Cr Kim O’Keeffe met with local residents in Tatura last week.

The goal for Shepparton’s council boss remains eight return train services to Melbourne by 2020.

Greater Shepparton City Council chief executive Peter Harriott said fast-tracked work on the Shepparton rail corridor would ‘‘work together really well’’ with a council railway precinct masterplan endorsed by the council last year.

Mr Harriott understood the brought-forward stabling works at the uncelebrated railway station, set to ensure trains can be housed overnight, would be undertaken within existing lines.

He hoped future funding could lead to more permanent stabling.

‘‘We welcome those works coming forward, and look forward to a fifth service being operated.’’

The council boss renewed calls for eight VLocity trains to be in operation on the Shepparton line, with an average journey time of about two hours, by 2020.

‘‘There’s been a lot of discussion at the moment,’’ he said, citing a recent rolling stock upgrade commitment from the Coalition, if elected this year, alongside the fast-tracked works announced last week by the Victorian Government.

‘‘As the election process goes on, we welcome further conversations, to see who can get to the stated aims the quickest.’’

The council last year endorsed a plan identifying short, medium and long-term steps to improving Shepparton’s beleaguered railway station and surrounds.

The plan flags improvements to streetscapes surrounding the station in the short term and identifies development of a pedestrian overpass, a new station and transport interchange on the western side of the tracks in the longer term.

The council also last year voted to request Shepparton rail corridor infrastructure upgrades be included in this year’s Victorian budget, following a request the government funds the necessary business case for infrastructure upgrades in the 2017-18 budget.

In that budget, $43.5million had been provided for the now fast-tracked essential works for the line to take place.

Prior to this funding being allocated, a study the council commissioned had found $186million would be needed to bring the Shepparton train line up to eight return services per day during the next decade.

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