The proposed Frankston to Baxter rail extension is big news across the region, but which governments are supporting it, where will the stations be built, and how will the new train line benefit the wider community?
With strong backing from the Federal Government and Opposition and the State Opposition, the $450 million-plus project has three of the four promises needed for it to go ahead. Rail supporters want the State Government to join the party, but there has been no word yet from Premier Daniel Andrews.
Three new stations have been proposed on the 8km extension. Frankston East would service Frankston Hospital and Monash University’s Peninsula campus and see up to 5000 “boardings” each weekday, making it among the top 25 busiest suburban stations. With the State Government backing the hospital’s rebuilding project to the tune of $562 million, this station is essential to fulfil the grand vision of creating a world-leading teaching hospital alongside its normal functions. The station would relieve pressure on scarce hospital and health precinct parking.
The second station, as yet unnamed, would service 13,500 residents of Karingal, Frankston Heights and Lakeside. The third station, Langwarrin, would service 23,800 residents, and a 1000-plus commuter carpark has been proposed. An upgraded Baxter station also would have a new carpark and would be used by people living farther afield.
A reliable train service every 10-15 minutes would transform Karingal, Frankston Heights, Frankston South and beyond. It would enable workers to get out of their cars and off congested roads, getting to and from work faster and home to their families sooner. Better transport would improve access to higher paying jobs and boost local incomes, a welcome relief as the cost of living rises.
‘Mum’s taxi’ would get a break — frequent, safe and reliable trains would enable young people to be more independent of their parents for transport. How good would it be if teenagers could get to their jobs, the beach or sports matches without having to ask Mum or Dad to drive them?
Committee for Greater Frankston is among organisations backing the rail extension; others include Frankston Council, Mornington Peninsula Shire, Frankston Hospital, Peninsula Health, Monash University, Karingal Hub, and Frankston traders. Committee CEO Ginevra Hosking has prepared a compelling case for the extension.
“It will radically transform public transport in our region, drive creation of new jobs and improve overall prosperity, reduce congestion on roads, free up crowded carparks, and make better use of public and private assets like Frankston Hospital and Monash’s Peninsula campus,” Ginevra said.
More information about the rail project is on the committee’s website at c4gf.com.au
Mike Hast is a freelance writer for the Committee for Greater Frankston and a former editor of Peninsula newspapers.