Baxter rail project back on line

Frankston Mayor Brian Cunial has welcomed the State and Federal governments’ decision to prepare a business case for the electrification and duplication of the Frankston railway line to Baxter.

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Cr Cunial said he hoped the decision would prompt the State Government to reconsider moving train stabling facilities to Baxter rather than Kananook, “a decision which would save over 200 local jobs”.

“Council has been advocating to both levels of government for many decades on the benefits of electrifying the Frankston train line to Baxter,” he said.  “It is great to hear that both levels of government have come on board with this vital project.”

Cr Cunial said the project would help connect businesses, education facilities, institutions and health centres, create 4000 jobs, cut unemployment in the region by up to 1 per cent and reduce youth disengagement by up to 2 per cent. It would also ease transport congestion and establish a demand for reverse commuting. Public Transport Victoria data in 2009 and 2012 showed 58 per cent of Frankston station commuters travelled more than 20 minutes to the station and 22 per cent travelled more than 40 minutes.

Cr Cunial said electrification and duplication of the line would boost Peninsula tourism, increase demand for up to 2500 more Bachelor-level student places at Monash University Peninsula Campus and Chisholm TAFE Frankston, and free up 32,000sq m of land in the Frankston Metropolitan Activity Centre for employment use.

The announcement was made at Baxter station last month by federal Urban Infrastructure Minister Paul Fletcher, accompanied by Dunkley federal Liberal MP Chris Crewther, Mornington Peninsula Shire Mayor Bev Colomb, Cr Cunial and other key stakeholders.