Mayor welcomes Overland lifeline

Published on 06 January 2020

The Overland at Dimboola.png

Horsham Rural City Council Mayor Mark Radford has welcomed the announcement that the Victorian Government will contribute funding to keep The Overland train running for another three months.

When the South Australian Government withdrew its contribution to subsidising this vital passenger link at the end of 2018, the Victorian Government stepped up to fund the shortfall until the end of 2019.  This new 11th-hour announcement will grant the Overland an extension until the end of March 2020.

Cr Radford said the Overland provided a fundamental public transport link for western Victoria.

“Currently, The Overland is the Wimmera’s only passenger rail service, giving access to both Melbourne and Adelaide, so it is of high importance for our community,” Cr Radford said.

“We thank the Victorian Government for committing its support to the service until the end of March.  This provides some certainty for people who have already made travel plans and creates opportunity for supporters of the service to use it, maybe for the first time.” 

The government has said that this three-month extension will allow time for conversations to continue with Journey Beyond, the Overland's private operator, about the long-term future of the train.

“Meanwhile, we will continue to lobby for the return of daily passenger train connections to Melbourne.   In the short term, a standard gauge shuttle service has been requested between Horsham, Stawell and Ararat to link in with existing broad gauge services to the city,” Cr Radford said.

“Looking to the future of the interstate link, there are three clear opportunities that could be better promoted.  Melbourne to Adelaide and Adelaide to Melbourne with MotorRail, Melbourne and Adelaide ‘to’ the Wimmera region and ‘to’ Melbourne and Adelaide from Wimmera stations.”

“The Overland train creates tourism opportunities for a national market. Overseas, train travel is such a popular way to see a country.  Hopefully the service will not just continue, but grow.” he said.