MP wants bush rail works kept on track

By James Bennett

State Member for Shepparton Suzanna Sheed says stages two and three of the Regional Rail Revival — which includes the Shepparton corridor upgrade — must be delivered by 2022.

With stage one promising a fifth return service between Shepparton and Melbourne — delivered earlier this year — the attention now turns to ensuring at least nine return services are delivered within three years.

Ms Sheed said the Victorian Government provided an additional $313 million for stage two in last year’s budget.

‘‘I welcome the completion of stage one and note the fifth daily rail service has been well received and patronised by the community,’’ she said. ‘‘Having witnessed the underfunding and a lack of attention under previous governments, I will be watching this government closely to make sure it delivers on its rail commitments to Shepparton in full.’’

Shadow Minister for Regional Public Transport Steph Ryan claims ‘‘the budget papers showing that the infrastructure work needed to deliver those services will not be finished until the end of the 2022’’.

Ms Ryan claimed the work on the Shepparton line was three years behind.

The News understands the estimated completion date for the Shepparton line upgrade stage one changed in the 2019/20 budget because crossing loop works have been incorporated into stage two, which are currently out for community consultation.

The News put Ms Ryan’s claims to the Department of Transport and this is what Transport Infrastructure Minister Jacinta Allan said:

‘‘It was the Labor government who won the fight with Canberra to upgrade every regional rail line and it’s Labor who is getting on with the work,’’ Ms Allan said.

‘‘When in government, the Liberals cut and shut — we’re getting on with building the public transport system and running new trains with more services.’’