THE STATE GOVERNMENT has committed to increase train services on the Warrnambool line servicing Colac by adding an extra train service on weekdays and Sundays.
The government will spend $131 million to increase passenger rail services across regional Victoria which includes adding an extra 12 services a week to the Warrnambool line.
The commitment means passengers will get four return services from Warrnambool to Geelong on weekdays, up from three, and an extra return service on Sundays.
Public Transport Minister Jacinta Allan’s office confirmed the Sunday service was an additional train service and wouldn’t replace bus services along the route.
“We have listened to the community and they have told us they want better trains and more services for our community,” Western Victoria MP Gayle Tierney said.
“The south-west community has been waiting for this additional service for a long time and I am pleased to be able to deliver for the local community,” Ms Tierney said.
Corangamite Labor candidate Libby Coker said it was a “fantastic” announcement for Colac and would help boost the region’s growth.
Ms Coker said she would continue to campaign for another passing loop on the line which would allows for more services in the future.
“This has been a long time coming and I’m very pleased that the State Government is investing in our region,” she said.
“I will be advocating to build on this announcement with an additional passing loop for the Warrnambool line that will enable more daily service and improve freight movement.
“This is going to help people access services and education and jobs and it will get trucks off the road which will mean safer roads.
“It will also help people get to places and help bring people to Colac.”
Colac Otway Shire mayor Frank Buchanan said the fourth service would bring more opportunities to the region.
“The fourth service during the week will give more opportunities for students and for workers, and people who need to get to medical appointments in Geelong, for specialists’ appointments,” Cr Buchanan said.
The budget includes $141 million for major maintenance on the regional network including reliability and amenity improvement to train carriages on the Warrnambool line.
The government will also spend $131 million for an extra 50 services a week between Geelong and Melbourne which should be in place by December.
Meanwhile, the budget also included $11.47 million to upgrade the Colac Police Station which the government announced last week.
See today’s Colac Herald print edition for more reactions to the train service upgrade.