Fed train plan falls short: State

An analysis by Transport for Victoria has revealed the Federal Government’s $500 million statewide investment into regional rail would not add a single new train service to the Gippsland line, the State Government says.

Minister for Public Transport Jacinta Allan said the Federal Government’s proposal was a “white elephant” that would not add additional services to the Gippsland line.

“It’s time for Malcolm Turnbull to give us our money, so we can make the improvements our network needs to run the extra services regional passengers deserve,” Ms Allan said.

It comes as the State Government announced $435 million for the Gippsland line from the Regional Rail Revival Package.

The State Government plans to fund the project entirely through money it says is owed to it through the Federal Government’s Asset Recycling Initiative from sale of the Port of Melbourne.

In newly released data, the State Government said its $1.45 billion Regional Rail Revival package would add 155 new services each week to Victorian regional lines, including an additional four services per day on the Gippsland line.

But in a statement to The Express, Federal Infrastructure and Transport Minister and Gippsland MP Darren Chester said public transport was primarily a State Government responsibility.

“I have secured record funding from the Federal Government to invest in regional rail upgrades, including on the Gippsland line,” Mr Chester said.

“Since the budget, I’ve had productive discussions with state Minister Jacinta Allan and expressed our willingness to support rail upgrades but there’s no such thing as a free ride.

“Victoria needs to put some of its own money on the table if it is serious about improved services.”

Mr Chester said he was working on a deal to benefit passenger rail users across Victoria.