Fast rail a slow train coming
Fast rail a slow train coming

South West commuters will have to put up with the ageing Australind train service for decades to come with neither major State political party willing to commit to any short-term plans for a high-speed rail link between Perth and Bunbury.

With the Australind carriages turning 25 years old last week and still only providing two 2 1/2 hour services each day, WA's supposed second city is suffering from State politicians' "lack of vision", said former Save the Australind committee member Glenys Yeoman.

Public Transport Authority spokesman David Hynes said a separate line from the one used by the Australind between Perth and Bunbury was "being considered" because it was unlikely the existing line could support a high-speed passenger service.

Opposition transport spokesman Ken Travers said high-speed rail would not be built in the first four years of a potential State Labor Government, but would be part of a long-term infrastructure strategy.

Mr Travers said the train service to Bunbury was one example of critical infrastructure neglected by the State Government and reflected the need for a 20-year State infrastructure strategy.

"The point about having a State infrastructure strategy is we can decide whether to update the existing service or say we will be able to build a high speed train," Mr Travers said.

"While the people of the South West would be keen for that to happen sooner or later, the key issue is to start getting an orderly process and judge each project on its merits.''

Bunbury MLA John Castrilli said there had been improvements to the Australind service in the past three years - including track upgrades, carriage refurbishments and mechanical work - but he was disappointed rolling stock had not been replaced due to tight financial constraints.

Mr Castrilli said the Australind would continue to provide an "excellent commuter service'' until the Greater Bunbury population made a "fast-train service economically viable".

Ms Yeoman said she thought it was "reprehensible" that Bunbury did not have a better train service.

"I would prefer the high speed option - if you're going to do something, do it right and do it for the future,'' she said.

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