The Victorian Government is set to begin detailed planning work and technical investigations to determine the preferred option for a high-speed rail link between Geelong and Melbourne.

The Victorian Budget 2018/19 will include $50 million for detailed investigations of fast rail infrastructure upgrades, costs and train requirements.

This vital work will help identify a preferred option and pave the way for full business case development.

A number of options will be investigated including the possible electrification to Geelong along the existing rail corridor, as well as new dedicated high-speed rail alignments with new rolling stock.

The investigations will also consider a new fleet of dedicated trains capable of travelling between 250 and 300km per hour.

A fast rail link from Geelong to Melbourne would reduce travel times between Victoria’s capital and its second biggest city, as well as creating a rail pathway to Melbourne Airport.

Victorian Minister for Public Transport, Jacinta Allan, said the vital work will help determine the best way to deliver high-speed rail to Geelong as part of the Melbourne Airport Link.

“This is about ensuring any link to the airport delivers better services for Geelong and regional Victoria. With the right planning, this could change the way people live and work in Geelong.”

The Victorian Government wants a future Melbourne Airport Link that integrates into the existing rail network. This would maximise the benefits of the link, unlocking capacity in Melbourne’s booming west and north, and providing better services for regional Victoria.

The announcement complements the work already underway on a joint preliminary business case for the Melbourne Airport Rail Link between Victoria and the Commonwealth.

The Melbourne Metro Rail Authority established under the Coordinator General will now become Rail Projects Victoria to lead the investigation, development and delivery of the program.

Rail Projects Victoria will also oversee the delivery of the $11 billion Metro Tunnel and the $1.7 billion Regional Rail Revival project.

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