GET real! Returning passenger rail services to South Gippsland would likely cost billions, not millions of dollars.
If it ever does happen in our life time it won’t have anything at all to do with a group of Melbourne-based railway enthusiasts playing trains on the broken-down South Gippsland rail line.
Something like a third airport being built between Lang Lang and Koo Wee Rup might be the catalyst but when you consider they still haven’t built a rail connection to the Tullamarine Airport, it would be no certainty even then.
And the chances of it being extended to Korumburra and Leongatha would still be remote.
Don’t get me wrong. Everyone would love to be able to board a European-style train and cruise effortlessly into Melbourne, in quiet comfort, tapping away at their computer or smart phone, away from the ‘Monash Carpark’.
And there’s little doubt such infrastructure would open up South Gippsland and Bass Coast to a residential development boom.
But it’s huge money.
Danny O’Brien MP says the Coalition parties will soon start preparing a regional rail strategy as part of their 2022 election drive, and he says he’d like to see South Gippsland rail services on that plan as a ‘medium term’ option but there are many ‘ifs’ and ‘buts’ there.
One, there’s little prospect of the Coalition being elected in three years’ time. For goodness sake few people could even name the leader of the Opposition, much less consider changing their vote in the 18 seats needed for a change of government.
Plus, as Mr O’Brien points out, the metropolitan rail system couldn’t handle a new rail line coming in from South Gippsland unless there was a dedicated Gippsland line into Southern Cross Station, which isn’t the case.
So, everyone should forget about the insignificant little Southern Rail Group and their desires to play trains on our line.
It’s appropriate that the line be used as an extension of the Great Southern Rail Trail until such time as it becomes feasible to recommence passenger and freight rail services.
Clear statement needed on rail future