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Saturday, 23 March, 2019,14:04

Labor proposal for Hurstbridge line upgrade “… fails to deliver any real benefits.”

Commuters on the Hurstbridge line will have more trains, more seats and fewer delays with the Andrews Labor Government promising to continue upgrading the Hurstbridge line.

“We said we’d upgrade the Hurstbridge line and remove dangerous and congested level crossings at Rosanna and Alphington and we did – but there’s more to do,” Premier Andrews said.

Both major political parties have released plans for rail upgrades to the Hurstbridge line before November’s state election but not everyone is happy.

Nillumbik Shire Mayor Peter Clarke said both parties needed to deliver more to achieve the Shire’s preferred outcomes.

“Neither Liberal nor Labor have provided a complete picture for our residents, but Labor’s announcement this week has more obvious gaps,” Clarke said.

The first stage of the Hurstbridge Line Upgrade has been delivered – six months early. This includes the new Rosanna Station, duplicated track between Heidelberg and Rosanna and the removal of dangerous level crossings at Alphington and Rosanna.

The propsed $530 million project includes a brand new train station at Greensborough and the duplication of three kilometres of track between Greensborough and Montmorency, and 1.5 kilometres of track between Diamond Creek and Wattle Glen.

“The Labor party’s proposal fails to deliver any real benefits for Eltham and in particular it creates a missing link of rail duplication between Montmorency and Diamond Creek.

“There is still plenty of time for both parties to get their policies right. Council makes no apology for advocating for the best outcomes for the community. When I compare both policies I would give the Liberals plan 7.5 out of 10 and Labor’s plan 4.5 out of 10,” Clarke said.

Labor’s plan will allow trains to run every six and a half minutes at Greensborough, every 10 minutes at Eltham and Montmorency, and every 20 minutes at Hurstbridge, Diamond Creek and Wattle Glen – as well as two extra Hurstbridge express services.

The new Mernda line will also get five extra train services during the morning peak, with a major upgrade of the Clifton Hill junction where Mernda and Hurstbridge lines connect.

In April, the Liberal party committed to duplicate the Hurstbridge line between Greensborough and Eltham.

“The Liberal party’s proposal delivers benefits but needs to rebuild the Eltham Railway Station and create a better model interchange,” Cr Clarke said.

A Matthew Guy Liberal National opposition will spend over $300 million to duplicate the Hurstbridge railway line between Greensborough and Eltham stations if elected.

“Growing up in Montmorency, I understand how important it is to provide a better quality rail service for the north eastern suburbs than what exists today,” Guy said.

The duplication will also see a rebuild of Montmorency station as well as significant additions to car parking at Greensborough, Montmorency and Eltham stations.

Duplication to Eltham will mean more trains, more often for passengers on the Hurstbridge line, it will significantly increase capacity and will provide a better quality alternative to vehicle transport to the city.

Labor this week committed to the duplication of three kilometres of track between Greensborough and Montmorency, and 1.5 kilometres of track between Diamond Creek and Wattle Glen.

“Labor does provide a minor upgrade between Diamond Creek and Wattle Glen which is welcome, but the duplication between Montmorency and Diamond Creek is a major deficiency and missing link in the transport network and no upgrade to the stations or model interchanges.

“Both parties could do better and Council will continue to advocate for the best outcomes for locals,” Cr Clarke said.

Labor proposes to protect the Eltham Trestle Bridge – the last remaining timber bridge on Melbourne’s electric train network – which has local heritage protection and is an important part of Eltham’s character.

Presently the Hurstbridge line is single track north of Greensborough.

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