The State Government has announced $50 million to be allocated in the state's budget this year will go toward detailed investigations for fast rail infrastructure between Melbourne & Geelong which will, the government claims, will compliment planning work already underway for the Melbourne Airport Rail Link.
The only high-level concept/vision released with the announcement was the video, embedded in the Premier's tweet below, which points toward Sunshine becoming a super-hub for rail.
Money allocated in this year's state budget will also 'consider a new fleet of dedicated trains capable of travelling between 250 and 300 kilometres per hour'.
Airport Rail. Geelong Fast Rail. Here’s how we’re going to do it. pic.twitter.com/ahivW3eE4M— Daniel Andrews (@DanielAndrewsMP) April 26, 2018
The inclusion of '250 to 300kph' speeds in the media release raised a few eyebrows around the Urban Melbourne newsroom, given that traditionally, trains running at those speeds only become economic when travelling very long distances. Melbourne & Geelong, depending on the path taken are 70-90km apart.
Victoria's regional lines outside of Melbourne, broadly speaking, have a top speed of 160kph to Geelong, Ballarat, Bendigo and Traralgon - elsewhere railway lines (and signalling) only permit speeds of 130kph or less.
The State Government reiterated it wanted a future Melbourne Airport Rail Link to integrate with the existing rail network and compliment faster services to regional Victoria.
The Labor Government wants a future Melbourne Airport Link that integrates into the existing rail network.
This would maximise the benefits of the link, unlocking capacity in Melbourne’s booming west and north and providing better services for regional Victoria.
Today’s announcement complements the work already underway on a joint preliminary business case for the Melbourne Airport Rail Link between Victoria and the Commonwealth.
Spring Street also announced the Melbourne Metro Rail Authority, which was set up to deliver the Metro tunnel project and since has been given the reigns to deliver projects like the South Morang - Mernda extension, will be renamed.
Rail Projects Victoria will be the new brand name and all projects currently underway in Victoria - the Metro Tunnel project, The Regional Rail Revival project unveiled last year, and the faster-rail-to-Geelong investigation work - will now be carried out by the newly renamed authority.