Campaigning for rail line to Epping North/Wollert

Whittlesea Leader, Northern Weekly etc
Local newspaper journalists, Aurora Estate residents

This document is mainly about local residents, especially from the Aurora Estate and the Aurora Community Association (ACA), campaigning for a rail line extension to Epping North/Wollert. The campaigning goes back to 2008 and was especially busy in 2010/2011. Little has been achieved from this campaigning and it appears that Victorian State MPs are not discerning at present any noticeable push from local residents for the rail line. There are signs in some areas of the State Government and the Whittlesea Council that a rapid transit bus service to Wollert (with much cheaper capital costs) would work instead as a temporary quick fix. Such a fix is highly questionable. Busway and far superior rail services are clearly not comparable. Busway operating costs are much higher. And a much-needed rail service will be delayed for decades. Hopefully a re-activated ACA Transport Working Group will help bring back the campaigning, make it more effective and help those in authority understand that the rail line extension to Epping North/Wollert is needed as quickly as possible (within 5 to 10 years) and that local residents strongly support it.

The first major local push for the rail line occurred in the second half of 2008 with a letter from Aurora Estate residents to the Minister for Public Transport. The letter stated:

As residents of the Aurora Estate in Epping North, we wish to express concern that the construction of a railway line to Epping North has been planned for but so far has been deferred indefinitely.

The Aurora Estate is understood to have been designed around access to a railway line. This especially shows up in Aurora’s narrow streets and medium density housing. The narrow streets make less sense for residents who need street parking for extra cars to get to work. Medium density housing suggests accessing entertainment and leisure by train rather than looking for it in the back yard. Buying an Aurora Estate house may be less appealing if teenagers in the family feel isolated because of lack of train services. The limited availability of buses and the slow meandering trips they take make buses by themselves substantially inferior to a combination of trains and buses.

The Aurora Estate has advanced sustainability features that can benefit Victoria generally with its savings on power and water. So far the plan is for only 20,000 homes in 20 years. There is a strong case for increased Government support for more of this kind of housing.

One day rising oil prices could make car travel to and from Epping North too expensive. Consequently living on the Aurora Estate could be much less attractive for future home purchasers and already established residents. Yet Epping North is only about 25 kilometres from central Melbourne which is much closer than many other new estates under construction. An early start to the construction of a railway line to Epping North increases the chances of appropriate land being available for rail construction and of appropriate planning for housing development near the railway line. The inclusion of the line in the Victorian transport plan is essential.

This letter was referred to a State government agency which in late 2008 came up with the following extremely unhelpful response which became typical of government responses in the years that followed:

(The) Government has committed to the extension of the Epping rail line to South Morang. The project involves the duplication of five kilometres of single track between Keon Park and Epping and the construction of 3.5 kilometres of new double track from Epping to South Morang at a cost of more than $650 million. Construction is scheduled to begin in 2010, once the duplication of the rail line between Clifton Hill and Westgarth is complete.

The VicUrban Aurora estate at Epping North has been designed so that most homes will be within 400 metres of a bus stop. A public transport corridor has also been included along the east flank of the development. The Department of Transport (DOT) is securing the corridor by establishing a reservation in the Whittlesea Planning Scheme.

DOT is currently undertaking bus service reviews across the metropolitan bus network to deliver new and upgraded services. The coverage of Bus Route 575, which services Epping North, will be examined as part of the Whittlesea Bus Service review.

Many of the older documents collected in the following pages first appeared on websites which no longer exist. Most of these documents came out around 2010 and 2011 followed by an almost total absence of rail campaigning for a number of years. These documents were generally kept in printed form which makes it difficult to draw attention to them. Scanning them in PDF form can take up a lot of computer storage space. Such PDF files have since been converted into text files using optical character recognition (OCR) software and have been combined into a single file of manageable size.


Aurora estate residents in push for rail extension to Epping North


Area’s rail wait


Tony Brad Cara Waiting for Train

Aurora Community Association members Brad Costin, Tony Francis and Cara Horner. N16WP203

EPPING North residents are still waiting for a train that never comes.

The Aurora Community Association, made up of residents in the Aurora estate, will use the November state election to launch a fresh push for the Epping North rail extension.

President Brad Costin said a rail solution to Epping North’s growing transport woes was needed sooner rather than later.

“The projected population for Epping North is 40,000 and if we don’t start looking at ways for those households to get better transport options, then it’s not going to be a pretty sight.” he said.

“The works at Miller St are going to help a bit. But it’s not going to cope with future demand.”

Original plans of Aurora before 2006 showed a rail line branching off the Epping line at Lalor, with new stations at Epping Plaza, Aurora and Epping North.

But the reality is different, with the Epping North extension on hold indefinitely.

Aurora resident and association member Tony Francis said the State Government had been neglectful in its approach to addressing road and transport issues in the north, including the 540 Aurora households.

“The State Government big picture approach of focusing on more and hugely expensive freeways contributes greatly to this neglect, especially when the freeways continue to result in more of the congestion than they are supposed to eliminate,” he said.

“Until the State Government does something effective about the vested interests, there is little chance that the major transport problems will be effectively solved.

“Especially in a world of looming peak oil prices that are likely to discourage typical road traffic.”

Mr Costin said there was a lot of support among Aurora residents for the railway.

State Government spokesman Chris Owner said it was focused on the South Morang rail extension project.

“There are no plans to extend the rail line to Aurora or Epping North,” he said.

Anyone interested in supporting the Aurora Community Association’s campaign, email

Ref: Leader Community ePaper – Area’s rail wait – 12 Oct 2010 – Page #23


Whittlesea Leader Opinion

19 Oct 2010, page #40

The need for a rail line to Epping North has revealed mixed views

Sprawl sans infrastructure


OUR Brumby Government overrides objectors and insists on massive and expensive freeways, but won’t put in train lines where they are needed,

They want basically to ensure that people use the tunnels, freeways and tollways already invested in, not extend what’s already there.

There is a reason for their “logic”.

What is wasted already must somehow be justified by increased use and more freeways connected up to ensure it happens.

They want to facilitate more urban sprawl, not service what they have got.

Infrastructure costs money and they want it where they want.
Posted by VivKay at


North is neglected


HOW long has it taken for the South Morang extension?

I wouldn’t be holding my breath for a rail line to Epping North or even the widening of Epping Rd.

The State Government neglects the north.
Posted by Lee at

Brad Cara Tony

No need for extension


THERE is no need for a rail extension to Epping North (Area’s rail wait, Whittlesea Leader. October 12).

The rail extension to South Morang is only a partial replacement for a service that should never have been closed and dismantled in the first place, that is the line to Whittlesea.

The justification or priority for a line to Epping North falls far behind other more established areas like Melton, Sunbury, Geelong, Cranbourne East, Warragul, where the need has been for years past. The people who bought in Epping North, and anywhere else for that matter, did so knowing that there was limited public transport, no rail line and the like.

That was their decision, we all take risks.

Just because they live in Epping North does not give them a right to demand preference.
Posted by Graham at


Posted on 20 Oct 2010 at 02:51pm
Cara Horner writes: Graham obviously knows little about the Aurora Estate in Epping North. The estate, being developed by VicUrban, the Victorian Government’s own land development authority, was masterplanned with a train line. My partner and I bought our house-land package on the premise that we would have a train line built in the immediate future as per the masterplan presented to us at the time. We feel very betrayed by the Victorian government that this is now seemingly off the cards.  Aurora  residents do  not think  we are  more deserved  of a rail  line than  any other ‘needy’ area, however we are merely campaigning for a rail line to our so called ‘sustainable’ estate which was masterplanned to be there from  the start.


Posted on 17 Oct 2010 at 07:01pm
Tony Francis writes: Graham incorrectly assumes that a push for an Epping North rail extension is a push for preference over other areas. The push is based around living on a planned large estate designed for a non-existent railway line, a rapidly growing population and worsening road congestion. Other areas experiencing such problems deserve prompt attention rather than having to wait their turn in a slow moving queue. Four of the five places mentioned by Graham probably have electrification issues; they already have railway lines as Cranbourne East once had and will have again in the medium term. Epping North has never had a railway line and has a significant chance of never having one.


Will buses take the place of trains on Epping North route?



TRANSPORT experts say a priority bus service from Epping to Epping North could ease traffic congestion, but residents fear it will end any hope of extending the train line.

BusVic has proposed a busway-style line from Aurora Estate in Epping North to Epping Station running along the Epping North rail reserve, with buses stopping at the Northern Hospital and Epping Plaza and meeting every train at Epping.

Public Transport Minister Martin Pakula supported the concept at a recent transport forum but, according to spokesman Stephen Moynihan, had no specific plans for Epping North.

“What he was saying was there needs to be a cultural change to the way people view bus travel in Melbourne and it could be appropriate in some locations for buses to be introduced much quicker than heavy rail and provide a similar service frequency,” Mr Moynihan said.

But Aurora Community Association’s Tony Francis said the train – originally proposed to service the medium-density estate – would accommodate the area’s growth and alleviate congestion more effectively.

“We need a train immediately, because within several years premium buses will not be able to match trains for handling significant numbers of passengers with regard to quick boarding, fares already paid and number of drivers required,” Mr Francis said.

He feared the bus line was being considered without consulting residents and would become another obstacle to extending the train line.

Monash University public transport professor Graham Currie said the rail extension was two decades overdue but remained a distant government priority, whereas the proposed bus offered a more realistic solution. “I think we are in danger of having nothing in these corridors unless it’s a Bus Rapid Transit system,” Professor Currie said. “On this basis the ideas make a lot of sense.”

Ref: Northern Weekly – 12 Oct 2010 – Page #5


Rail Priority Letters to Northern Weekly 12 October 2010, page #5, Internet Comments


A busway-style line from the Aurora Estate would be more appropriate for an existing or planned road rather than the proposed nearby Epping North rail reserve (public transport corridor). The key part of the Epping North rail reserve is its continuation south of Cooper St to the rail line between Epping and Lalor. With a premium bus service using the Aurora rail reserve to Cooper Street, the rail reserve to the south of Cooper Street is highly likely to become unreserved and unavailable for a train line. Professor Currie’s views are probably well in accord with those of the State Government but I doubt the Epping North railway line will remain a distant priority for much longer with worsening transport congestion in the area. I do fear that when the priority changes, at least some of the needed land will not be available for building this railway line.
Posted by Tony Francis, 11/10/2010 4:11:58 PM, on Northern Weekly (edited 14 July 2017)

Agree with Tony…government should finalise the proposed rail reserve footprint and include it in the local government policy as “land subject to acquisition”, so that future development within the private land along the railway corridor will leave the rail reserve untouched. The growth of Epping North is unbelievably fast and the rail extension is due now. I am personally quite disappointed at VicUrban being one of the state government bodies, but unable to influence their own “colleagues” to improve public transport by means of rail extension to Epping North in their own landmark development.
Posted by Hal, 12/10/2010 2:11:56 PM, on Northern Weekly

Regardless of which government we get, the rail line is not likely to happen. However, I still have some hope we may be able to get it by pressuring the government. If the busway happens, kiss the trains goodbye for real. The government will push for other areas to do the same because it is a quick fix at a cheap price. For some reason corporations and governments love the bandaid treatment on every subject. Rather than fixing the issues and planning for the future by themselves, I would also like to see the developer VicUrban, being the developer of Aurora, put pressure on the government even though VicUrban is under the government umbrella. A class action may even be possible as a result of VicUrban saying and putting on plans that the trains will be coming through the estate as a selling point. My view is if it is not happening, VicUrban should not put it on their plans and have their sales reps using it as a selling point! Vicurban, stop focusing on DOCKLANDS and focus on AURORA! The transport corridor that we have in Aurora will most likely be parklands.
Posted by Rick, 12/10/2010 8:42:17 PM, on Northern Weekly (edited 11 July 2017)


Population boom will strain services



WHITTLESEA’S population could double within 20 years according to new estimates, bur residents are asking if the roads can handle it.

Whittlesea Council acting planning manager Felicity Leahy said the population of 154,000 could become 295,000 by 2031 – not 240,000 as previously estimated – because the state government recently extended the urban growth boundary.

“Growth areas such as the City of Whittlesea are set to experience even larger population rises than anticipated IO years ago,” she said.

Wollert is home to 75 residents bur in 20 years is expected to grow beyond 22,000, and Donnybrook is expected to jump from 86 to more than 15,000.

The boom is expected to mirror Epping North’s growth from 728 to 7081 in five years, with 44,000 expected by 2031.

But Aurora Community Association’s Tony Francis said Epping residents were already fed up with the congestion- something he said the whole corridor could expect unless transport infrastructure was upgraded.

“The area is already choking, and population projections are enough to make extending the Epping railway line absolutely essential,” Mr Francis said.

Yan Yean Liberal candidate Jack Gange said transport infrastructure in the growth corridor was not prepared for the boom.

“Labor definitely haven’t thought though the development of that area as far as infrastructure goes, and that’s very unfair on the people moving into the area,” Mr Gange said.

He identified upgrading Findon Road as a priority project. He also supported the Epping North railway extension but could not make any commitment on timing.

State government spokesman Chris Owner said bus routes in growth areas had recently been improved.

“As Melbourne’s north continues to grow, we will continue to monitor the suitability of the bus network and adapt it as funding becomes available,” Mr Owner said.

Ref: Northern Weekly, 19 Oct 2010 – Page #6


21 Dec 2010     Northern Weekly

Council tries to track down train promise


A TRAIN extension to Epping North is needed to deal with skyrocketing population growth, Whittlesea Council says.

The proposed train line would extend from Lalor to Epping North, connecting to the existing train station at Donnybrook, used on the Melbourne-to-Sydney train line.

The council said the most recent extension of the urban growth boundary,  which now includes Donnybrook, justified  the train line, with the council estimating 15,000 people will move into the area. “The recent expansion  of the UGB has strengthened the case for an extension of the train line, as there is now a larger future catchment that will need to be serviced by a good level of public transport, ” Whittlesea planning and development director Justin O’ Meara said.

Transport Minister Terry Mulder was unable to comment on specific transport projects but recognised the added pressure the extended UGB put on transport. “There’s no doubt there’s a lot of pressure on infrastructure with extending the urban growth boundary, and it’s something we’ll be looking to address as we move forward”, Mr Mulder said.

A station at Epping North would serve the Aurora housing estate,  built by the state  government’s development  agency, VicUrban, and marketed as a sustainable community to be connected with a train line. Although VicUrban put land aside for a public train, no promises have been made since.


Train plan derailed


Secret report identified track options


Sandro Olivo

THE need for rail extensions to Mernda and Epping North was identified by the State Government in 2007 but were dropped from the Victorian Transport P1an just 12 months later.

The South Morang and Mernda Rail Alliance received documents released under Freedom of Information last week which show the government commissioned a report, completed in December 2007, titled Whittlesea Public Transport Corridor Strategy Options Assessment Final Report.

As first reported at last Wednesday, the secret document states that the population of Mernda and Epping North would skyrocket between 2011 and 2021 and identified several public transport options for each corridor, including bus routes and train lines.

But the crucial section of conclusions and recommendations was not released by the FoI officer because it did “not follow through thoroughly enough to be adopted” and was “no longer indicative of current thinking”.

FOI reveals plan is ignored


One of the report’s objectives was to recommend the preferred transport option within each corridor. South Morang and Mernda Rail Alliance spokesman Darren Peters said residents should be told why the Government investigated the two rail links but failed to include them in the Victorian Transport Plan.

“The State Government has ignored the facts stipulated in their own report that they commissioned about projected growth in Mernda and Epping North and has catastrophically failed to plan effectively for these suburbs.” he said.

The Labor Party has since promised to build a busway to ferry passengers between Mernda and the future South Morang railway station at a cost of $48.5 million instead of committing to a rail link.

A rail extension to Epping North is off the agenda.

Aurora Committee Association member Tony Francis said he believed the government had decided not to build a rail extension to Epping North because of the cost involved.

“My guess is that the unreleased parts of the report sufficiently indicate the need for more planning and action at a cost that the State Government does not want to know about,” he said.

While the State Government has been lambasted over its decisions on Mernda and Epping North, the Liberal Party also is yet to commit to either extension.

Opposition public transport spokesman Terry Mulder would not say if the extensions would be announced in the lead up to the election.

“Ted Baillieu will be making many more public transport and roads policy announcements prior to November 27,” he said.

The Whittlesea Leader asked the State Government why it decided not to build the extensions to Mernda and Epping North.

Spokesman Stephen Moynihan did not answer the question, instead reiterating the Government’s investment for the Mernda busway and upgrades of bus routes in Epping North.

Ref: Whittlesea Leader 16 November 2010, pages 1 & 2.


Whittlesea Leader 2 November 2010, p #31

Trains needed now


VICUrban has said that the Aurora Estate will eventually house about 30.000 people.

Add in the number of residents from Lyndarum and the new Eden and Summerhill’s Estates and there will be many thousands of Whittlesea voters clamouring for the train line that has already been proposed for North Epping.

It needs to be built now so that it’s ready when those voters come to live in this area.

It will be cheaper to build now than 20 years down the track.

Multiplying roads has been shown, over and over again, to contribute to further congestion and forces us all to keep relying on non-renewable sources of fuel.
Posted by Joanna Durst at


Whittlesea Leader 16 November 2010, page #34

Road and rail needs


TO date there has been a lack of acknowledgment from the State Government of Epping North’s transport needs.

These include a rail extension to Epping North, two lanes each way for High St/Epping Rd from Memorial Avenue to Craigieburn Road, an intersection with traffic lights instead of a roundabout at Findon Road/High Street next to the Epping fire station, O’Herns Road connected to the Hume Freeway and completion of Edgars Rd from Cooper Street to Craigieburn Road East.

Can I suggest it might be time for real estate developers in Epping North to be involved if they wish to continue selling house and land packages which are accessible.

I have VicUrban especially in mind with its plans for an 8000 home Aurora Estate.

These developers could benefit by emphatically and collectively presenting Epping North transport needs  to the Minister for Freeways and the Minister for Abandoning Railway Lines in the hope these ministers may justify their more traditional ministerial titles.
Tony Francis, Epping.


Councillors, mayor at odds over busway



WHITTLESEA councillors have rejected their mayor’s endorsement of the Mernda busway, which they say is a waste of taxpayers’ money.

In a statement welcoming the $48.5 million project, mayor Mary Lalios described the busway as a “positive precedent” for infrastructure in growth areas.

But councillors Stevan Kozmevski and John Fry said the busway was not what the community wanted or needed.

“lt should be a train line, not a bus, and we should be getting, a commitment to that now,” Cr Fry said. “It’s time our state members got off their arses and started representing the community.”

Cr Kozmevski said the bus project represented poor planning and was “a big waste of taxpayers’ money”.

He said money would be better spent extending the rail now while machines and workers for the South Morang extension were in place.

“A busway might meet the needs of today but not of tomorrow and governments need to be planning for that now.”

RMIT transport expert Paul Mees also criticised the busway and claimed a railway to Mernda could cost even less than $48.5 million “if constructed competently”.

Department of transport spokesman Stephen Moynihan said the 7.5-kilometre rail extension to Mernda would cost “hundreds of millions”, but Dr Mees said a comparable train line extension in Perth had cost only $4.5 million for each kilometre.

Dr Mees said the department lacked the skills of its West Australian counterparts.

Yan Yean MP Danielle Green said the busway was a good outcome for the community because it meant the early delivery of public transport without impacting on plans for the rail extension. “lf anything, this means the government is more committed than ever to delivering the rail service but this is a recognition of the need to bring positive transport solutions forward because of the accelerated growth.”

Liberal transport spokesman Terry Mulder said he was “perplexed” at how Labor had gone against its own transport plan, which stated the need for heavy rail. He said his party would announce its own policy on the Mernda rail extension before the election.

Ref: Northern Weekly 9 Nov 2010, p3


Northern Weekly 9 November 2010

Against Mernda Busway Proposal


Well done to Cr Fry and Cr Kozmevski for speaking out against the Mernda Busway proposal by the Brumby Government. It is short sighted and a waste of money considering when Labor proposed it they said they would rip it up anyway when they build the railway line! Labor’s candidate Danielle Green even knows she is on a loser with this policy as her sign on the Mernda pub states “Bringing Rapid Transport to Mernda” instead of “Bringing a Busway to Mernda”. We know there is going to be 40,000 in Mernda, we know that it is the fastest developing growth corridor in the entire nation and we know that a bus that carries 40 people can never service such a massive population increase. Busway – no way. Let’s do the job right the first time and use the railway easement for its intended purpose, to build a railway to back to Mernda instead of giving its residents the 3rd world option.
Posted by Darren Peters, 9/11/2010 5:59:31 PM, on Northern Weekly


Northern Weekly 8 November 2010

Victorian transport management shortcomings


Since the 1950s Victorian transport management has been responsible for the abandonment of railway lines and the increasing emphasis on cars and freeways even though this is now much less the way of the future. Current Victorian transport management is thus severely lacking in the experience of planning and construction of rail line extensions. This may partly explain the South Morang line being long overdue; the excessively high cost of the 3.5 kilometre extension line ($650 million) even allowing for line duplication, new stations and station upgrades; that the South Morang rail station appears to be located in Mill Park rather than the more distant South Morang. Even the line extension to Mernda was once planned for 2002 before being put back to 2027 and then replaced with a totally inappropriate proposal for a Mernda busway by mid 2013.

Current Victorian transport management is not coping and needs a major overhaul with new senior management who are knowledgeable and experienced with trains. What is especially needed is a central autonomous authority responsible for all transport planning in Melbourne (hopefully this will deal with the vested interests promoting freeways).
Posted by Tony Francis, 8/11/2010 9:36:13 PM, on Northern Weekly


Whittlesea Leader 25 October 2010


No Plans to Extend Train to Epping North


David writes:

Posted on 25 Oct 10 at 12:18pm

I am an Aurora resident and I see no need for an expensive train line to Epping North. An express bus route along the public transport corridor would be an efficient and less expensive alternative to a train. The demand for public transport is not there and if you could get into Epping Plaza via an express bus route with good services, that is what should be considered. Trains over short distances are not an efficient use of resources. They are costly to run and maintain. Buses can be made to run on renewable fuel, thus would be a greener alternative to the use of trains. I also believe a bus service would be available to the community faster than a train service.

Pushing a train service to Epping in lieu of an express bus service is only going to make the residents of Epping North wait longer for public transport.


Sue writes:
Posted on 25 Oct  2010 at 11:47am

When I purchased property at Aurora I was advised that the extension would be “Light Rail” a tram line and NOT train. If Miller Street is opened and an extension of O’Herns Road goes to the Ring Road freeway, traffic problems will be eased. The bus is very good. It only takes 15 minutes to get to the station. I have even walked to Epping Station. It only took me 35 minutes using the walking tracks along the Merri Creek (consider it exercise).


Whittlesea Leader 8 February 2011 page #11

Train still needed for future


IN response to online comments from David and Sue (No plans to extend rail to Epping North,, October 12), we can still have an express bus route from Epping North on an existing or planned road and keep the nearby public transport corridor for a railway line.

David questionably states the demand for public transport is not there and does not allow for the predicted population increase around Epping North.

An Epping North train cannot be described as a short distance train if it is going to take passengers into the CBD. Trains will be less costly than buses to run and maintain well before the area’s population reaches its maximum.

Traffic problems will be only temporarily eased with Sue’s suggested road solutions. The increasing population will inevitably add to road congestion.

The time allocated for bus travel from Epping North to Epping railway station has increased from 10 minutes to 20 minutes since the last changes to the bus timetable. A walk from Epping North to Epping railway station is likely at present to cover a distance of 4 to 4.4km and would take an average walking time for residents of around 50 minutes one way. Walking regularly between Epping North and Epping railway station would be unreasonably time­consuming and tiring for many residents, especially for workers, students, the aged, the ill, children and the non-athletic.

The comments of Dave and Sue appear more akin to the ill-conceived ideas of the Victorian ALP on outer-suburban infrastructure rather than the concerned thoughts of Aurora residents on the future of their community.
Tony Francis, Epping North (edited 14 July 2017).


Ref: Whittlesea Leader 9 August 2011, p. #23

Light rail, buses better

I AM an Aurorian (Aurora estate resident) and I think a light rail or bus service is a much better way to go.

Train lines are expensive and unsightly.

And all that ugly infrastructure through the estate won’t be doing it any favours.

Open a few roads such as Edgars Rd and that will solve a lot of problems.
Posted by Mark at


Ref: Whittlesea Leader 16 August 2011, page #24

Soon, three congested roads


IN REPLY to Mark (“Light rail, buses better”, Whittlesea Leader, August 9), I would like to remind readers that traffic hold-ups out of Epping North have not improved with the Millers Rd extension.

Now we just have two congested roads out of Epping North, instead of one. Hence, with the mushrooming of Epping North development, the extension of Edgars Rd is likely to introduce yet a third congested route.

A railway line will prove to be far more appropriate than buses in the long term.
Posted by Kathleen Ager at


Ref: Whittlesea Leader 30 August 2011

Can’t follow line of thought


MARK opposes a railway line extension to Epping North on the grounds that train lines are expensive and unsightly and that such ugly infrastructure does the Aurora estate no favours (Opinion, Whittlesea Leader, August 9).

This opposition comes across as a denial that in the very early stages of population growth in Epping North there are already major problems getting into and out of Epping North because of road congestion.

There are already major expenses for Epping North households in having to own at least one more car because of inadequate public transport – costs in car depreciation, increasing oil prices (indicating future Peak Oil disasters), time-consuming road congestion, insurance, parking, accidents.

These expenses are in addition to overpriced houses, increasing land prices (following conversion from farm to residential land), additional contents required for a new home, large debts and debt charges (which require long working hours that disrupt family life), stamp duty and GST.

There are expenses here which add substantially to government revenue and which eventually could finance the railway line and lots of other infrastructure.

All this makes a railways line extension look very attractive to me.
Tony Francis, Epping North


Ref: Whittlesea Leader 30 August 2011, page #24

More rail will solve snarls


LIKE Kathleen Ager suggested (Opinion, Whittlesea Leader, August 16), more roads, extensions of existing streets and lane duplication doesn’t seem to improve the frustrating state of the traffic anywhere.

We’ve seen this most recently with the Miller St (Epping) extension.

The promised railway spur line from Lalor, however, will offer a true alternative to clogging the bitumen with more costly vehicles that mortgage-addicted workers can barely afford.

A train station at Epping Plaza and the Northern Hospital would relieve that area of some parking constraints and allow passengers to ride majestically towards the city.

OK, maybe not majestically, but surely less expensively, more serenely and with less danger of loss of young life.
Joanna Durst via email


Ref: Whittlesea Leader 6 September 2011, page #27

Light rail not answer


TO MARK, who argues that light rail and buses will be better than a train line for Epping North: Well, my friend, you are wrong.

These are not permanent solutions to a growing problem and the only viable solution is the full and proper extension of the train line to Epping North.

The Edgars Rd extension is necessary but it’s not a replacement.

Buses and other light rail will also only compound the problem in the long run; particularly buses, which will create more traffic, more congestion, more noise and more pollution.

Connecting to a train is always problematic, too. I have never heard that train lines were worse for looks than other solutions.

It’s much better than so many buses running around and polluting the air, that’s for sure.
Sent by Ahmet via email


Ref: Whittlesea Leader 6 September 2011, page #27

Build extension now


MARK should worry about future transport issues other than a train line being unsightly – such as the rising cost of petrol because of peak oil, and the clogging of our roads because of huge population growth in the municipality, especially in Epping North (Opinion, Whittlesea Leader, August 9).

It seems Mark hasn’t read the Aurora Development Plan 2. Page 35 reveals that “the railway line is expected to be constructed approximately two metres below the abutting street levels”.

“The landscape approach outlined. . .anticipates the retention of the avenues of trees (already planted), which may be quite mature when the railway line is constructed”.

Every year the construction of a train line is delayed adds expense to the project.

Perhaps we should just get onto it rather than keep delaying something which the majority of the Epping North residents would appreciate.
Sent by Cara via email.


More coverage of rail line to Epping North/Wollert


“Rail Plan Review” Whittlesea Leader 30 April, 2013. Ref:

“Rail Extension to Epping North” by Tony Francis, Aurora Community Association Newsletter, March 2016. Ref:

“Infrastructure Victoria report calls for rail extension to Wollert” by Laura Michell, Northern Star Weekly, 18 October 2016. Ref:

“Bus Vs Train to Wollert” by Tony Francis, ACA Website. Ref:


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