North East alliance welcomes fast rail announcement

Chair of the Hume Corridor Passenger Rail Collaboration Wodonga Mayor Cr Anna Speedie has welcomed today’s announcement by the Australian Government of $8 million to look at a faster rail between Melbourne and Albury-Wodonga.

The project is part of the government’s Faster Rail Plan.

Cr Speedie said any investment in the region’s rail line was welcome.

“We know that the rail line provides a key link for our region to the city but it needs drastic improvement,” Cr Speedie said.

“We’ve seen significant investment committed from state and federal government for the much-need improvements to the line.

“That’s required and needed now but we also need to be thinking about what’s next and fast rail to Melbourne will unlock even more for our growing region.

“The ability to move commuter demand from road to rail will provide access to jobs and services for our communities.

“It will unlock greater opportunities for decentralisation, investment and population redistribution which will in turn strengthen our region’s economy.”

The business case, one of five across the east coast, will undertake an options analysis to determine the optimal rail solution, determine requirements for integration with the existing rail network, and provide patronage assessment, economic appraisal and funding and financial analysis.

The Australian Government has committed $235 million towards capital improvements on the Melbourne to Albury-Wodonga line to improve the speed, ride quality, reliability and resilience of the line for passenger rail services.

The Hume rail alliance includes AlburyCity, Benalla, Wangaratta and Wodonga councils and the Border Rail Action Group.