All aboard to fix our trains

Wannon MP Dan Tehan wants the state and federal governments to work together to get Warrnambool's train line on track.
Wannon MP Dan Tehan wants the state and federal governments to work together to get Warrnambool's train line on track.

The federal government has signalled its intention to help get needed rail upgrades moving on the Warrnambool and Geelong train lines.

Wannon MP Dan Tehan said the Commonwealth could play a role in helping fund vital infrastructure upgrades such as track duplications as he joined forces with other state and federal MPs to launch a rail petition.

The petition urges people to have their say on passenger rail between Melbourne and Warrnambool and push for more funding.

“There is no question that representatives at a state and federal level see the need for investment,” Mr Tehan said.

Politicians behind the rail petition also include federal Corangamite MP Sarah Henderson, South West Coast MP Roma Britnell, Western Victoria MP Simon Ramsay, Polwarth MP Richard Riordan and South Barwon MP Andrew Katos.

Mr Tehan said he wants the state and federal governments to work together to improve the line based on the success of the jointly-funded Murray Basin Rail Project.

“I’ve got a very firm ideas that if the federal government sees the need for action at the state level, then where we’re at now is we have to put our money where our mouth is,” he said. “We’ve done that with the roads even though the roads were a state responsibility. I see this as another area now where we need to engage with the states to see action.”

Mr Tehan said he hoped his government would be prepared to assist and he had argued the case, but nothing would be certain before next month’s federal budget.

The Wannon MP said some of the $9.7 billion generated by the state government’s 50-year lease of the Port of Melbourne should be invested in regional rail infrastructure.

Victorian Transport Minister Jacinta Allan said any funding announcments would be made closer to the release of the state budget on May 2.

“We would welcome any contribution from the federal government, who haven't yet provided a single dollar to build better public transport in Warrnambool, or anywhere in Victoria,” she said.

"Earlier this year we introduced the first new services on the Warrnambool line in more than a decade, and $10 million to upgrade 20 dangerous level crossing on the Warrnambool line."

"We've also added well over 200 services every week between Geelong and Melbourne, and have started planning for the duplication of the line to Waurn Ponds and services to Armstrong Creek."

Last year’s state regional network development plan identified needed improvements on the Warrnambool line such as newer rolling stock, extra passing loops and track signalling upgrades.