We are continuing to be briefed by Regional Rail Revival (a rail project body of the Victorian government), on the Shepparton line upgrade. Stage 1 is complete, which has enabled the extra daily return service (departing at 5:53am from Melbourne, 9:33am from Shepparton). Stage 2 work is due to get started soon on the passing loop between Murchison East, the 59 level crossing upgrades and extra stabling which will enable Velocity trains to run on our line. This is set to be completed in 2022. Stage 2 involves a business case to move from 5 to (up to) 9 return services per day. This business case will inform, the as yet unfunded, stage 3 works. We will continue to advocate in this area, so that we have an equitable service per capita with the other major regional centres.
You may have seen the recent reports on a regional rail initiative headed by the Geelong city council – ‘stronger together’. This proposal is designed to build on work underway with regional rail upgrades, and provide an electrified high speed (200km/hr) link from Melbourne to Geelong, Ballarat, Bendigo, Shepparton and Gippsland. The Bendigo and Shepparton line would go into Melbourne via the Tullamarine airport rail link. The Committee for Greater Shepparton has been involved in this initiative for some time, and is fully supportive of the project.