BUILD the electric train line to Langwarrin, then full steam ahead to Hastings…!
That’s the call from the region’s two municipalities – Mornington Peninsula Shire and Frankston City Council – in a joint letter to the state government sent in early April. They have asked the government to get on with building the rail extension – stage 1 from Frankston to Langwarrin, and then stage 2 to Hastings.
Both major federal political parties – the Liberal-National Coalition government and the Labor Opposition – have supported the Frankston to Baxter project for several years.
However, the rail extension – and its many benefits – is not guaranteed. Extending the line requires both federal and state government funding. The federal Liberal-National government allocated $225 million of Commonwealth funding for the project in last year’s budget, approximately half the estimated cost of an extension to Langwarrin. If elected, the federal Labor Party has pledged to back that commitment. However, while a preliminary cost-benefit study is currently underway, the Victorian Labor government has yet to commit to the project.
If the Victorian government doesn’t back the project, it cannot go ahead.
With heavy rail reckoned to cost between $60 million and $100 million per kilometre, which includes an amount for removing level crossings, extending the line to Langwarrin at a cost of $450 million would be $86 million per kilometre for the 5.2-km stretch. Building the stage 2 line from Langwarrin to Hastings, a distance of 17km, would cost another $1.46 billion applying the same estimated rate.
Cr O’Reilly said stage 1 “of this vital public transport project would ease car parking congestion at Frankston station and will directly benefit … [the] health and education precinct, which includes Frankston Hospital, Frankston Private Hospital, and Monash University Peninsula campus”.
The two councils disagree with the Department of Transport’s long-standing proposal to build train stabling at Baxter. “[We] are opposed to any stabling and maintenance facilities being located in valuable green wedge land or altering the Urban Growth Boundary and will work together with the Victorian government on possible solutions.”
Cr Gill used the joint statement to continue the shire’s advocacy for more buses. He said 82 per cent of the peninsula had no access to bus services. “In addition to investment in rail, the region is in desperate need of greater investment in bus services,” he said. This included buses to meet existing and future trains.
The Committee for Greater Frankston, which has been actively advocating for the rail extension project, welcomed the two councils agreeing on the project staging. Chief executive Ginevra Hosking said strategically extending the line to Langwarrin and then continuing down the Mornington Peninsula had wide community support.
“The line should be electrified and duplicated to Langwarrin with trains running to metro timetable frequency. There should be new stations including one to service Frankston East, the hospital and Monash’s Peninsula campus, and one at Langwarrin with a 1000-plus space commuter car park, and three grade separations – at Playne Street, Moorooduc Highway, and Peninsula Link,” she said.
“Building to Langwarrin in the next four years is an important step in this vital infrastructure project. All plans for the future must strategically consider Mornington Peninsula’s total public transport requirements including creating a system that allows young people especially to independently access schools, jobs and social activities.”
Rail fail fears rise
Rail fail fears rise
Advocacy group fears for train project unless business case completed soon
Christian Tatman, Frankston Leader, 22 April 2019
THE Baxter rail project will go off the tracks unless the State Government completes a business case, according to a key advocacy group.
Committee for Greater Frankston chief executive Ginevra Hosking fears the Federal Government will withdraw its $225 million funding unless the study is wrapped up soon. “Without a cost-benefits study, no funding certainty can be obtained and any pre-election federal commitments — from either party — towards this vital infrastructure project are in jeopardy,” he said.
Ms Hosking said funding to start the project in 2019-20 had not been included in the recent Federal budget. The committee has long argued for the train line to be duplicated to Baxter.
Frankston state Labor MP Paul Edbrooke said the business case involved up to five level crossings, station redevelopments, carparking and train stabling. “Suggestions that a plan for a project costing up to $1 billion of taxpayers’ money should be rushed is foolish,” he said.
Dunkley federal Liberal MP Chris Crewther blamed the State Government delay for the project not starting.