EFFORTS to restore passenger rail to western Victoria has progressed with the launch of the western rail advocacy campaign.
The project has included the creation of the website www.westernrail.com.au and a dedicated Facebook page and Twitter handle that provides updates and opportunities for people to share their stories.
Horsham mayor Pam Clarke said advocacy remained a core component in the push for region-wide passenger rail services as plans moved forward.
“The project has progressed well through each politician that we have spoken to,” she said.
Chief executive Peter Brown said, in a report to council, that he had continued to push for a business case to be developed and for government and opposition parties to support to the return of passenger rail to western Victoria.
He said meetings had been arranged with state bureaucrats to increase awareness of the proposal.
Mr Brown said the Wimmera Southern Mallee Regional Partnerships forum on August 2 was an opportunity to present the issue to the politicians in attendance.
He said the project had received a strong support from the premier, government ministers and bureaucrats during the forum.
The project’s first goal to increase train services from Ararat to Melbourne from three to four services daily took effect on Sunday.
The timetables announced, however, do not include connecting coach services west or south-west of Ararat.
Mr Brown said the next goal would see additional coach services to improve links between regional towns and cities. The project’s advocacy group had written to Transport for Victoria to request connecting coaches from the Wimmera to new services in Ararat.
The group also requested an upgrade to coach services available in the Wimmera and south-west Victoria.
Mr Brown said the project also intended to upgrade the Ballarat line to reduce travel times between Ararat and Melbourne during the next phase.