THE notional “opening” of a new Rosebud train station on the weekend was an opening salvo in a campaign for a rail link along the western side of the Mornington Peninsula.
Past estimates have put the cost at $5 billion and any bid for public money will come at the same time that Mornington Peninsula Shire says priority should be given to the electrification of the line from Frankston to Hastings.
Frankston Council, meanwhile, is content for the line to be electrified as far as Langwarrin or Baxter.
However, urban and regional planner Robert Whitehill says a railway to Rosebud “could be a catalyst for widespread public transport improvements across the region”.
Having created a mock train station, the first Peninsula Rail Link cardboard train rolled in to Rosebud Plaza last Saturday “demonstrating to locals and politicians the possibilities and benefits of a railway line for the west coast of the peninsula”.
The proposed railway line would branch off the Stony Point line at Baxter, and run alongside Moorooduc Highway and along the median strip on the Mornington Peninsula Freeway. It would stop at new stations at Mornington East, Mt Martha, Safety Beach, Dromana, Arthurs Seat, and McCrae, before terminating at a new Rosebud station on Boneo Road.
“The Mornington Peninsula community desperately needs investment in public transport infrastructure,” Mr Whitehill, a member of a group lobbying for the Rosebud line, said.
“There is currently little to no public transport throughout the peninsula. The rail line plus bus network improvements could mean residents across the area will no longer feel forced to drive to work or play.
“Young people, elderly, people with disabilities and those without cars are stranded and without access to reliable public transport. This infrastructure is essential to their well-being and quality of life.”
Mr Whitehill said he had spoken with Frankston MP Pauk Edbrooke and former Nepean Liberal candidate Russell Joseph, but was yet to catch up with new Nepean MP, Labor’s Chris Brayne, whose support would be invaluable as the proposed route runs through his electorate.
“We want Chris Brayne to take our proposal to [the Premier] Daniel Andrews,” Mr Whitehill said. “Labor made big public transport investment announcements in the lead up to the election, but the peninsula has been forgotten. This has to change.”
Residents Against the Mordialloc Freeway proponent Scott Fothergill said proposals like the rail link were “public transport projects the peninsula desperately needs”.
“We can’t keep building freeways without trains, buses and light rail and not expect more traffic jams,” he said.
“The more roads you build, the more people will drive, the more traffic we create. Only public transport breaks this cycle.”