Public Transport

Walsh Calls for More Frequent Passenger Rail Services

20 March 2015

The Nationals member for Murray Plains Peter Walsh has called on the Andrews Labor Government to improve passenger rail services for people who live in the seat of Murray Plains.

In State Parliament this week Mr Walsh called on Premier Andrews to fulfil his commitment to govern for all Victoria and fund a rail package that gives increased services to the people of Swan Hill and Echuca.

Mr Walsh commended the partnership between the Shires of Gannawarra, Swan Hill, Loddon Campaspe and Greater Bendigo that conducted a survey to learn more about how the community used the passenger rail service, what issues there are with the current service, and what improvements need to be made on the Melbourne to Echuca and Swan Hill lines.

He said the survey resulted in an overwhelming majority of respondents saying they would increase their patronage of rail transport if there were more frequent services.

“Currently about 50,000 people live along two train lines – the one from Swan Hill to Bendigo and the one from Echuca to Bendigo,” Mr Walsh said.

“Increased services to Bendigo would give those people not only the benefit of being linked to more services in Melbourne but also the opportunity to attend specialist medical services only available in Bendigo.

“More importantly, increased rail services would help improve the education outcomes for the region and significantly reduce costs for families enabling university students to remain living at home while attending LaTrobe University campus in Bendigo.”

 Mr Walsh said that in the lead up to the 2014 state election the Coalition had committed to a $178 million package for  increased rail services.

 “The people of Northern Victoria have clearly articulated that they place great value on the train as their preferred form of public transport and have indicated a strong desire for major improvements in rail infrastructure and services.

 “Instead of spruiking about improvements to rail crossings in metropolitan Melbourne Premier

Andrews should get on with fast-tracking the projects country Victorians need,” Mr Walsh said

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