URBAN planning graduate and public transport advocate Robert Whitehill (pictured) says his dream of constructing a rail line to Rosebud under the first stage of his Peninsula Rail Link project would cost $6.1 – $7.5 billion.
His project, which he began in 2012 as a “potential” train line running from Frankston to Rosebud, has since evolved into planning for better rail and bus services across the peninsula – including upgrading the Stony Point line (“All aboard for $20 billion rail ride to Rosebud” The News 11/1/21).
Mr Whitehill said financial projections for stage one includes high-capacity signalling, triplication and grade separation through Mordialloc, and two new platforms at Frankston. They also include new buses and regional trains as well as the Stony Point line’s duplication.
Over time, the two-stage project would connect the peninsula to the Melbourne CBD using the Frankston and Cranbourne rail links.
Mr Whitehill says people have been put off by suggestions the project’s initial stages – just getting trains to Rosebud – would cost $20 billion.
“This is not the case,” he said, admitting that errors in his initial estimates had increased the costs of the second stage to $14.7-$17 billion, pushing the totals of both stages to $20.8-$24.5 billion.
Mr Whitehill said the project began as an investigation into running a rail line along the peninsula’s west coast. “I found the concept so feasible that I decided it should become a reality and have been pushing for it to happen ever since,” he said. “With summer seeing a mass exodus onto the peninsula there is always going to be a surge in transport demand that the road network alone can’t handle. It happens every year.”
Mr Whitehill, who earned a Bachelor of Urban and Regional Planning (Honours) in 2018, says he has presented the idea to politicians and “piqued the interest of many”.
For more information visit the project’s Facebook page and peninsularaillink.net