THE Bass Coast community is “crying out” to see the return of rail to the region and now a draft of the proposed train line has been mapped out by a former public servant.
The community support is clearly there – with more than 1200 signatures on an online petition calling for a train line from Koo Wee Rup to Phillip Island.
Grantville’s Andrew Ashworth has mapped a train line which sees the Cranbourne line extended to Koo Wee Rup, then to Pioneer Bay, Corinella, Bass and eventually finishing on Phillip Island.
He says a train line would reduce the negative impact on the environment from cars and bring in more people.
But as for reviving the old railway line, Mr Ashworth says it’s “too far east”.
The new train line involves going above and below the South Gippsland and Bass Highways, and stopping at Grantville and the intersection for Corinella and Coronet Bay, bringing much-needed tourism to the region’s small towns.
“The Corinella-Coronet Bay station would serve the growing community,” Mr Ashworth said.
“That’s where a rail station should be built,” he said, adding that there would also be a major station at the Grand Prix Circuit on Phillip Island.
The line would end near the Cowes Yacht Club.
“Phillip Island is the busiest holiday resort in Victoria and all visitors would have bay views when they arrive,” Mr Ashworth said.
“It’s an easy walk to the shops without disruption to the centre of Cowes.”
According to 2016 Census data, the most popular age group on Phillip Island is the 65 to 69 year olds – making up 9.4 per cent of the population.
Mr Ashworth says the train line would cater for residents, in particular the elderly, who can’t or don’t want to drive long distances.
If the new train line uses a similar fee structure to V/Line trains, it could be cheaper to take the train than to drive to the city.
“It would go a long way towards creating a viable economy,” he added.
The additional bridge for the train line would ease the stress on the two-lane bridge, and would offer significant savings to VicRoads across the region.
“A train can carry 1000 people in a minute, how long would it take to get 1000 people across the bridge in cars?
“It would be more environmentally-friendly for an electric train than 1000 cars blaring emissions.”
Census data also predicts the population in the shire will rise from 33,944 this year to 46,429 by 2036, a 36.78 per cent jump.
“This increase is why a railway line to Phillip Island is a necessity. The community is crying out for this.
“If they wanted, you could also build a new railway line from Anderson to Wonthaggi and then to Inverloch.”
What’s the next step? After more statistics and maps are collated, Mr Ashworth will present a file to the Minister for Transport Jacinta Allan with evidence showing the viability of a train line.
Then he hopes to hold a public meeting, possibly on Phillip Island, to discuss the plans with politicians and the community.
Mapping a new train line