LETTER TO THE EDITOR:
PETER McHugh raises an important point about train stabling to deliver additional services to Sale and the impact on residents living around the station.
He also states that I didn’t bother to reply to him when he contacted me last year. In fact I replied the same day (Mr McHugh tells me now the email didn’t reach him).
In that response, I pointed out that I am not proposing a train stable — with the attendant prospect of noisy trains running in the wee hours — at the Sale station.
The recently-completed study commissioned by Wellington Shire proposes alternative locations, the most-favoured of which is in the industrial area adjacent to the saleyards.
In addition, the noise that Mr McHugh and other residents experienced in the 1990s and early 2000s when trains stopped in Sale overnight, came from the very old N and Z class diesel trains that operate to Bairnsdale.
What I am pushing is for the much quieter and more modern VLocity trains that currently stop in Traralgon to extend to Sale.
This would give Sale much-needed extra services to the Latrobe Valley and Melbourne.
Although we are currently requesting a time frame from the state after federal funds were announced for the Avon River Bridge replacement at Stratford, this makes no difference to the Sale services, and will proceed irrespective of stabling at Sale.
The Nationals are planning improvements for all passengers east of Traralgon.
We recently announced that if elected, we’ll spend $633 million to replace the current long-haul train sets state-wide (including the Bairnsdale line) with a long-haul version of the modern VLocity trains.
I’ll continue to advocate for stabling to deliver additional services to Sale.
Meanwhile, my colleague, Gippsland East MLA Tim Bull, will continue to advocate for improved transport services to Bairnsdale over and above the additional services we delivered when in government.