The Nationals in government will deliver new weekday rail services on the Gippsland line after years of disruption and cancelled trains under Labor.
Leader of The Nationals, Peter Walsh and Member for Gippsland South, Danny O’Brien announced a new early morning service would run from Sale, enabling Wellington Shire residents to get to Melbourne by train before 9 am for the first time.
“I have been campaigning for years now to address the lack of services between Melbourne and Gippsland and The Nationals in government will provide a solution,” Mr O’Brien said.
“The existing Traralgon to Melbourne service at 6.32 am will now originate at Sale at 5.50 am, replacing an existing coach connection service that will continue to operate on the Bairnsdale-Sale leg. This will allow Sale passengers to arrive in Melbourne before 9am.”
Currently the earliest train departing Sale on a weekday leaves just after 7am, arriving in Melbourne around 10am.
Mr O’Brien, who is also the Shadow Minister for Public Transport, said he expected demand to be strong for the new early morning service, the first additional service in at least 42 years.
“Anecdotally, a lot of people from Sale, Maffra, Stratford and surrounds drive to Traralgon to take advantage of the more frequent services from there. This new service will provide a better option for locals.”
Mr Walsh said this service extension would just be the start, with further services to Sale and Bairnsdale to be added when the Gippsland Regional Rail Revival project and Bairnsdale train stabling projects are complete.
“A poor train service makes it very hard for Gippsland to compete and provide an attractive option for people looking to get out of the city when there are limited train services, particularly beyond Traralgon,” Mr Walsh said.
“Areas like Gippsland shouldn’t be left behind and only The Nationals in government will deliver the rail service that Gippslanders need and deserve.”
Member for Gippsland East, Tim Bull said the Gippsland line had long been overlooked, particularly beyond Traralgon where new services were clearly needed.
“For the Wellington Shire and East Gippsland we have just three train services in each direction each day, compared to 19 from Traralgon, 31 from Ballarat and 21 from Bendigo. This is a good start to the new services we need in our region.”