Ms PATTEN (Northern Metropolitan) — My question is for the Minister for Public Transport represented by Mr Jennings, and it relates to the duplication of the Upfield railway line between Gowrie and Upfield stations. The state government’s Level Crossing Removal Authority will commence work later this year to grade separate the existing Upfield railway as part of the Camp Road level crossing works. The proximity of these works to this section of line could facilitate significant cost and time savings over future duplication works were the opportunity taken now to extend a second track between Gowrie and Upfield at the same time. As it stands the lack of a duplicated track means that each train service must travel from Gowrie to Upfield and return to Gowrie before the next train can go. Will the minister seize this opportunity to duplicate the Gowrie to Upfield track, the cost of which will not be significant when compared to that of the crossing works themselves?
The duplication of the railway from Gowrie to Upfield is not included in the scope of the Camp Road level crossing removal project.
At this time, the service benefits arising from the addition of a second track to Upfield are limited. This is because the capacity of the Upfield line is constrained in the Northern Loop tunnel of the City Loop, which is shared across the Upfield, Craigieburn and Sunbury lines.
In the long term, the opening of Melbourne Metro will provide significant additional inner city capacity to the Upfield and Craigieburn lines. The Government is planning for the future duplication of the line to Upfield, and the potential to reinstate the former Somerton link between the Upfield and Craigieburn lines, both of which will allow for additional Upfield and V/Line trains post Melbourne Metro.