A NEW network of underground railway lines is the most important infrastructure needed for Victoria’s future, former premier Jeff Kennett reportedly told an audience today at the Australian Property Institute Pan Pacific Congress.
“If I was able to wave a magic wand even now, I would start the planning for an underground rail system,” Mr Kennett said.
“It would cost hundreds of millions of dollars, but I can assure you when you look back in 50 years, or 100 years, whatever you pay today would seem cheap. We can hardly accommodate the traffic on the surface of our community in an efficient way and it is only going to get worse.”
But Daniel Bowen, president of the Public Transport Users Association, said Melbourne did not need to build a network of train tunnels to have efficient public transport, it could achieve this by improving the existing above-ground network.
“We shouldn’t be fooled into thinking that for our trains to run efficiently we need them to run underground,” Mr Bowen said.
Removing level crossings to separate trains from road traffic could deliver the same improvements as new tunnels, he said.
“You don’t get better rail services just by running them underground. The key is to run them frequently and to run them all day, every day and ensure they’re reliable.”