State government quashes Metro’s Pakenham push

THE State Government has rejected Metro’s plan to terminate Gippsland trains services at Pakenham, instead committing funds to ensure Victoria’s rail network can continue to grow, according to Gippsland South MLA and Deputy Premier Peter Ryan.

In the wake of a controversial plan announced by Metro earlier this month, Mr Ryan said the Coalition would work towards putting new train cars on the rails.

The potential new rail system announced by Metro would, if implemented, result in all Gippsland’s V/Line rail services terminating at Pakenham rather than in central Melbourne.

Gippsland commuters – all two million of them per year – would have to catch a Metro train service at Pakenham in order to get to the Melbourne CBD.

The justification was to help ease congestion on the Dandenong line, which according to Public Transport Victoria, the regulating body for public transport, is operating at its limits.

“The Dandenong corridor is operating at its limits therefore every option on how to improve performance and get extra capacity will be considered by Public Transport Victoria,” a PTV spokesperson told the Gippsland Times.

Mr Ryan condemned Metro’s plan, stating the Coalition had no such plans to axe Gippsland’s Melbourne train services.

“Country residents living on the Gippsland line have as much right to expect their trains to operate to and from Melbourne’s CBD and busy junctions such as Caulfield and Dandenong as do Victorians who live on the Ballarat, Bendigo, Geelong and Seymour lines with their respective junctions and direct trains to and from Southern Cross,” he said.

“There is a need to improve and upgrade the Gippsland rail network, however the proposition of a Pakenham interchange is not something the government would deem as acceptable.”

For more read Friday’s Gippsland Times.