The NorthWest Rail Alliance has released what we are calling a ‘benefit-cost analysis’ regarding the reintroduction of passenger rail between Maryborough and Mildura.

 Alliance President Christian Mitchell said that following a dual peer review of  costings and benefits, it is  estimated that passenger rail can be reintroduced for a cost of a little more than $180m.

He said this could be phased-in over a three-to-five year period, following a technical scoping study.

“This cost would be additional to the $440m being currently spent to standardise the gauge and upgrade the line to 21 tonne axle loading, as part of the Murray Basin Rail Project.”

He said with the commencement of a second weekday Melbourne to Maryborough service  it is timely that we now join the dots, to connect our communities by rail’ – and to introduce a daily return shuttle service between Maryborough and Mildura. 

“The additional $180m to reinstate the train will bring the centre of Mildura to within seven hours from Southern Cross Station Melbourne.”

He said to discuss the reintroduction of passenger services to the Mildura corridor in the context of a future rail vision for Victoria, the NorthWest Rail Alliance is delighted to be welcoming urban and public transport consultant Professor Bill Russell as its AGM Guest Speaker. 

“Dr Russell is a highly regarded rail industry expert and a long-time supporter of the return of passenger rail to the NorthWest,” Mr Mitchell said.

“He is part of the Centre of Governance and Management of Urban Transport (GAMUT) and has recently called for a radical overhaul of country rail services in our state.”

The Alliance will hold its annual General meeting at 3.00pm on Saturday February  4 at  Latrobe University Mildura Campus Auditorium, 471 Benetook Avenue Mildura.

Members of the public are welcome to attend the AGM.

On Monday the Victorian Government announced an extra 80 regional train services with 10 of them being new weekday services from Melbourne to Ballarat.

These new services are the first of more than 170 announced as part of the Victorian Budget 2016-17, and are on top of the more than 340 new regional services already introduced by the Labor Government.

The Budget included $1.3 billion for better regional public transport, including $198 million to rebuild V/Line, $257 million for new train carriages and $518 million for the Ballarat Line Upgrade.