Greens demand more trains for Ballarat

BALLARAT will have enough trains to cope with patronage demand in 2016 under the Regional Rail Link but not once the trains arrive at Melton, a strategic report has revealed.

The Greens have released a V/Line state government advisory from 2011 that was obtained under Freedom of Information, indicating Ballarat will have one extra peak hour train by 2016. It says the capacity that will be provided by that train will be “sufficient to cater for the forecast demand”, although passengers from Melton onwards might be forced to stand. However visiting Ballarat yesterday, Greens leader Greg Barber said one extra train would not meet forecast growth.

“This is going to be standing room only from day one,” he said.

“It’s a long way short of what people are calling for. I think the growth will be a lot more than what is predicted in the report and it won’t meet the needs around the growth.”

City of Ballarat councillor Belinda Coates also said one extra train during peak hours would not be enough and that the report had not estimated growth properly.

“The need is just going to increase and one extra train in the two peak hours won’t fix that,” she said.

V/Line acting chief executive officer Ross Pedley admitted there were constant issues surrounding overcrowding throughout Victoria.

He said the strategic report was more than a year old and that it was a constantly changing assessment.

“It (the Regional Rail Link) will alleviate some of the congestions. The punctuality will certainly lift and we’re not happy with where we are operating at that level at the moment and we want to lift that,” Mr Pedley told ABC Radio. “RRL will provide new, separate tracks for V/Line trains between Sunshine and Southern Cross.  V/Line trains will no longer have to share the tracks with Metro’s suburban trains from 2016,” said Transport Minister Terry Mulder.