Train travel times between Melbourne to Geelong and Ballarat will be slashed and new metro stations created in the west within 10 years, the state government is promising.
Labor on Tuesday will counter the coalition opposition’s promise of European-style regional fast rail, announcing its plan to separate regional and metro services on the Geelong and Ballarat lines.
It would involve electrifying lines to Melton and Wyndham Vale, which are currently on the two regional lines, to free up track time.
“This plan will deliver the transformation that our state needs – electrification of rail lines out to the west, and fast rail to Geelong and Ballarat, returning country rail to country communities,” Premier Daniel Andrews said in a statement.
Planning work for the future airport rail link via Sunshine identified the projects and Labor is promising $100 million to complete designs if re-elected at the November election.
Work on the full business case would start next year in conjunction with the business cases for the government’s promised suburban rail loop and airport rail link.
The government says the separation of regional and metro services has to happen before fast trains can be delivered, and the full plan is expected to take about a decade to complete.
Earlier this month Opposition Leader Matthew Guy promised $19 billion for trains travelling up to 200km/h, making a trip between Geelong and Melbourne just 32 minutes.
An initial injection of $3 billion over four years would kickstart the project, with the speedy service from Geelong expected to be achieved in that time, according to the opposition.
The government is also promising planning for a suburban rail loop from the southeast of Melbourne to the west, connecting outer suburbs to the airport without the need to head into the CBD.
That promise also has federal Labor support.
The airport rail link has bipartisan support on federal and state levels.