Prior to the last State election, the then shadow Minister for Transport, Terry Mulder, announced that an incoming Liberal/National Party government would commission a study on the feasibility of re-introducing passenger rail services between Bendigo, Ballarat and Geelong. After spending $2M on the study, the Minister released the findings in June 2013. The consultants estimated the cost of this project at between $935M and $760M.
An independent engineering study put the actual cost of the project at $90M.
The author of the alternative study, Noel Laidlaw, said that the consultants had “gold plated” the whole project and that a perfectly acceptable rail service based on the current Maryborough – Ballarat service would be more than adequate to meet the community needs for cross-country passenger rail services between these major cities.
What does Rail Revival Mean for Local Communities?
- Repair and reopening of the Castlemaine – Maryborough Rail Line.
- More passenger trains between Maryborough and Ballarat.
- Trains from Maryborough connecting via Castlemaine to Melbourne and Bendigo.
- Passenger trains between Ballarat and Geelong with additional connections to Melbourne.
- Reopening of the Moolort silo complex and ballast siding.
- More efficient freight handling by routing freight trains away from the congested Bendigo Line and through Maryborough to Geelong.