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Swan Chamber of Commerce president Gerry Hanssen plans to present the video to Transport Minister Rita Saffioti at a business breakfast in June. Picture: CLAIRE OTTAVIANO

Chamber drives push for trains to Ellenbrook

THE Swan Chamber of Commerce is continuing its push to use the Geraldton freight link for passenger trains to Ellenbrook with a new promotional video. 

The video was shared on the Midland Ward Community Facebook page but has not yet been officially launched. 

Chamber president Gerry Hanssen said he planned to present the video to Transport Minister Rita Saffioti, Metronet project manager Anthony Kannis and Midland MLA Michelle Roberts at a business breakfast in June.

“The intent of the video was to create awareness,” Mr Hanssen said.

“But I can’t get traction with the politicians.

“They’re reluctant to listen.”

In December Mr Hanssen claimed the existing freight line from Midland to Geraldton could service trains to Ellenbrook residents as early as Christmas 2018 but faced opposite from State Government.

“Most people don’t know it’s [the freight line] there or realise the potential and how close it is to the Swan Valley,” he said.

“All the students and all the people could ride their bikes to Upper Swan and catch a train to Midland.

“It’s a no brainer.

“Why should they have to wait five years for Metronet’s plan when this could be up and running in six months for only $30 million?”

Ms Saffioti said the $30 million quoted by the Swan Chamber of Commerce would not realistically deliver their proposed project.

“I appreciate the constructive role the Chamber of Commerce plays in the region,” she said.

“I will request the agencies within my portfolios work with both the Chamber and the City of Swan to get the best possible outcomes for the area.”

In December a Metronet team spokesperson said it was not possible for electrified passenger trains to share the same tracks with container freight trains and that buses from Ellenbrook to Whitfords station would offer a faster route to the City than the chamber’s proposed diesel operated system.

Despite State Government’s disapproval, Mr Hanssen said he will fight for what he believes is right.

“I haven’t had any real traction because everyone thinks it’s too hard a fight but it’s not,” he said. 

“Even my daughter said, dad you’re mad. 

“The whole chamber of people support me, but some people still say it’s too hard.

“I said nothing is too hard.

“If it’s worthwhile, you should do it.”

By Claire Ottaviano

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  1. If the State Government is serious about promoting tourism in the Swan Valley this is an essential piece of infrastructure. It is also essential to getting more cars off the road between Midland and Ellenbrook. Not everyone will want to go to just Morley.

    It could also help establish more small businesses in the Swan Valley (local shuttle services for starters) to get people around the Valley venues safely and quickly. All that is needed is basic platforms at Middle Swan, Herne Hill, Haddrill Road, Upper Swan, then Ellenbrook. Stopping at theses small stations can be on an as needed basis just like buses.

    And what if the Royal Show moves to the Valley as has already been suggested.

    Even if it costs $100M, it is essential for a number of reasons. Spending small on tourism infrastructure is a waste of money.

    The City of Swan should have picked up the ball on this years ago.

  2. The Metronet spokesman does not know what he or she is talking about. The Ellenbrook to Whitfords bus service doesn’t leave Ellenbrook frequently enough and takes too long to Whitfords and then a further train trip to the City. Ellenbrook to Midland via the existing train line would take only 15 mins if that and 30 mins or less on the express into the City. It is a great idea!

  3. I am a tran driver and I believe the line to Ellenbrook in Labor’s plan will be too expensive and not well thought through.
    Getting a few diesel sets to go this routing via Swan Valley would save the state a lot of money.
    4 sets of 4 cars each you could have trains depart every half hour from 5:30am from Ellenbrrok. The Geraldton line is a no brainer. It is already there and is underused. Eventually you could have trains to Gingin as well.
    But this would be more economical than the current “Avonlink” which services less than 2 dozen people to Northam and Government keeps it running.
    Lets see how many people will use this train service by having promotional buses asking people to use it to see if they will take a train to e city. As he population is too low in Ellenbrook I feel spending billions of taxpayer’s dollars is a waste of money. The Government should do an economic cost benefit analysis case and present to Parliament first. Having a train up the Swan Valley would be awesome too for tourism.
    Why spending ten times the amount of dollars on something when the existing infrastructure is there and you could just lay a few kilometres of track (single) to Ellenbrook?
    Morley could have an underground line direc to the city and this makes sense for inner suburbs to have as it would benefit higher density living than Ellenbrook as Ellenbrook is still outer suburb almost rural.
    At the very least consider an option to go from Guildford up the Swan river to Ellenbrook on a single track with 1-2 crossing points like at Whiteman Park and have it diesel Railcar only. Even parts of London until recently had diesel Railcars on the Gonlin lines. And we don’t have anywhere near the population of London.
    Our public transport is already heavily subsidised and it will increase even more under Labor’s plans. Taxpayers are throwing away $700 million dollars a year or more in subsidies for public transport just in Perth.
    The existing railway lines need to be pressured for high density residential and commercial development because if we can’t make use of the existing infrastructure we are just going to continue wasting lots of money. Not counting the criminal element that gets free transport at public expense.

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