Details for the Geelong faster rail project have been confirmed, with the project to cut travel times between Melbourne and Geelong by 15 minutes.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews said the total travel time will be roughly 50 minutes and each government is committing $2 billion to Stage one of the project.
Construction will begin in 2023 and the project is expected to support 2,800 jobs during construction.
To reduce the travel time, Geelong trains will run on the Werribee corridor, with a new dedicated express track and track upgrades between Werribee and Laverton. The new route will benefit travellers from Wyndham, Melton, Ballarat and Bendigo by freeing up capacity on the Sunshine corridor for more trains.
Some services will continue to travel via Wyndham Vale and Sunshine to enable access to Melbourne’s west and the future airport rail line.
Federal Minister for Population, Cities and Urban Infrastructure Alan Tudge said once the project is finalised the total travel time will fall further.
“When all stages are completed the time from Geelong to Melbourne will be just 40 minutes.”
A business case for the project is being finalised, along with scoping work for future investments.
The announcement of works beginning in 2023 will make the Geelong faster rail project the first project under the federal government’s faster rail plan.
Previously, the Victorian government had promised trips of as fast as 35 minutes at the 2018 state election, and trips of as quick as 32 minutes had been promised by Morrison in the lead up to the 2019 federal poll.
Geelong is expected to grow significantly in future years, and the express tracks will enable more reliable services for communities between Werribee and Laverton.
“We want commuters to spend less time travelling and more time with loved ones and the faster rail corridor provides a better transport link for urban and regional communities,” said Morrison.