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Passenger Services

Passenger rail and public transport connectivity is a key driver of regional population and economic growth, providing vital connections between education, employment, health, retail and recreational opportunities. Western Victoria has suffered significant population decline since the reduction of rail services from the 1970s onwards.

Funding support was received from the Federal and State Governments and eight local government authorities in western Victoria to undertake the Grampians and Barwon South West Passenger Services Study.

This project is underpinned by extensive research that shows that passenger rail can and should be re-introduced to western Victoria, underlining the importance of public transport to support the State Government’s policy to support population growth in regional Victoria.

The reinstatement of passenger rail across the Western District will link the Greater Hamilton and Wimmera regions to provincial capital cities like Melbourne, Geelong and Ballarat. The improved provision of other passenger services will provide equitable access for people across western Victoria. There are in excess of 25 townships that will benefit from the recommendations in this report. A cost effective solution the splits the four carriage train into two at Ararat and services both Hamilton and Horsham provides the trunk line for these improved services and connections.

Implementation of the recommendations of the passenger services study will lead to:

• Improved connectivity betweenmore remote townships and larger rural centres and major cities including Melbourne and Adelaide
• Improved access to educational and health opportunities between Ararat, Horsham, Stawell, Hamilton and Ballarat
• Better timetables and services to support tourism markets, including south east South Australia
• Reduced fuel and roadmaintenance costs
• Reduced road trauma risks
• Improved disability access

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