HORSHAM Rural City Council has teamed up with the Southern Grampians and Glenelg shire councils to push for passenger rail services.
The city council wants a passenger rail service through the Wimmera to Ararat, where it would connect with Melbourne-bound trains.
Trains from the Southern Grampians and Glenelg shires, including from Hamilton, would also head to Ararat.
Horsham Mayor David Grimble said working with other councils would strengthen the case for passenger trains.
“If we were to stand alone, we would require an additional back-up train to guarantee the service in case of breakdown,’’ he said.
“But if there is a similar service down south, we can share that back-up train. It would also increase the number of passengers linking with the Ararat service.
“In the ideal world, the Wimmera train would start as far back as Kaniva so this will involve discussions with our neighbouring councils.”
Cr Grimble said train services would help disabled and older Wimmera residents travel to Melbourne.
“The train service is clean, reliable and convenient and takes away the impact of driving in traffic and car parking,” he said.
“For people who are disabled or elderly, it is easier to embark and disembark a train rather than a bus.”
South Grampians councillor Katrina Rainsford said western Victoria needed to fight for its fair share. “This is an issue for the whole of western Victoria,” she said.
“We at the South Grampians and Glenelg shire councils are afraid to ask for a train – that is where we are at.
“Warrnambool is looking at adding extra services but we don’t even have any.”
Cr Rainsford said having a train to the South Grampians and the Wimmera would boost tourism and attract new residents.
“Hamilton hasn’t grown for 30 years so we need to do something different,” she said.
“We might not have our train in the next year, but we need to have a feasibility study and to have this high on the agenda at the next election.”