A GROUP of engineers will launch a Victorian transport plan on Monday, which lists new rolling stock as a short-term priority in the North East.
The blueprint would cut travel times between Albury and Melbourne to 165 minutes by 2040.
North East passengers would also have a direct train line to the Melbourne Airport and frequency would be increased to seven services per weekday.
The report titled InterCity: How regional rail can rebalance population growth and create a ‘state of cities’ in Victoria is backed by former deputy prime minister Tim Fischer.
The 30-year plan was developed by the Rail Futures Institute and aims to build on the state's rail network to decentralise Victoria's rapidly growing population.
“It is absurd that in the second decade of 21st century we do not yet have higher speed, reliable services in the North East,” Mr Fischer said.
“The initiative of the proposal being launched tomorrow by a dedicated group of engineers makes a lot of sense.
“Step-by-step, at long last, governments, state and federal, are realising we must have adequate rail for the future.”
Advanced copies of the report have been sent to the Ministers for transport and regional development.
Research by the group found Victoria's population is projected to grow to 10.1 million in 2051 and that Government policies were “inadequate” to meet those challenges.
The report also states there has been no improvement in long-haul service frequencies, including Albury, since 1981 and that journey times from Wodonga-Albury to Melbourne are slower now than they were in 1992.
Rail Futures Institue president John Hearsh said, despite the government's regional network development plan, the aim was to be “constructive”.
“The government's RNDP is not really a long-term plan - it really doesn’t demonstrate what the railway should look like over the coming decades,” he said.
“It’s a fairly political document as these things inevitably are.
“We are really advocating they need to go a lot further and really deal with longer term issues.
“In fairness to the government, these are big outlays - rolling stock is expensive.
“But there is really no choice, once the stuff gets really old, it's not as reliable and there are maintenance issues.
“We have to bite the bullet in next few years and get new long distance trains.”
Mr Hearsh was involved in the purchase of the North East’s N-Class trains 35-years ago and said they now fell behind contemporary international practise.
“Once people have really good rail and public transport they can rely on, people will not only use it, they will consider their options about where they will live.
“It opens up possibilities of affordable housing and the benefits of regional living.”