The Victorian Government and Federal Government have committed $2 billion each to the Geelong Fast Rail project.
The project aims to reduce journey times between Geelong and Melbourne by 15 minutes faster.
Stage One of the project will see a dedicated new express track built on the Werribee rail corridor. Some services will also continue to run through Sunshine and Wyndham Vale to provide connection to the western suburbs and the future airport rail line.
Upgrades will result in the shortest and most direct line between Geelong and Melbourne, around 8 kilometres shorter than the current route through Sunshine and Wyndham Vale.
The first stage of construction is expected to provide 2800 jobs, with works set to begin in 2023.
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Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the plan would deliver a major boost for the fast-growing city of Geelong where the population is expected to grow by almost 50 per cent in the next 30 years.
“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,” Morrison said.
North Geelong, North Shore and Lara stations will receive $24 million worth of upgrades in total to make the stations safer and more comfortable.
The Corio to Waurn Ponds section of the Geelong Line will also get part of a $90.5 million package to upgrade track and level crossing upgrades across the regional network.
Between 2009 and 2019 patronage on the Geelong line grew 191 per cent. Geelong’s population is also expected to double to 485,000 by 2051 which will increase demand on the rail network.
Premier Daniel Andrews said faster rail would mean Victorians could spend less time commuting and more time with the people they love – and that he was proud to be delivering for Geelong.
“When we make a promise, we keep it. We will deliver faster services to Geelong – and shovels will be in the ground in just a few years,” Andrews said.
Both levels of government are now working on detailed planning and technical investigations to inform the business case for the first stage of construction. Work is also underway to scope future investments for the Geelong corridor.
Deputy Prime Minister and Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development Minister Michael McCormack said continued infrastructure investment was at the heart of the Federal Government’s economic recovery plan.
“Every dollar we spend on infrastructure is a dollar invested in local jobs, local businesses, local industries and local communities,” McCormack said.
“This nation-building infrastructure will ensure commuters can get home sooner and safer, increasing the liveability of the entire Geelong region.”
Federal Population, Cities and Urban Infrastructure Minister Alan Tudge said Geelong Fast Rail was the first part of the Federal Government’s 20-year faster rail plan.
“This is a critical route for faster rail which will make a huge difference for thousands of Victorians,” Tudge said.
“When all stages are completed the time from Geelong to Melbourne will be just 40 minutes.”