HORSHAM Rural City Council mayor Pam Clarke discussed how rail links were vital for the region at the Victorian Population Policy Taskforce meeting in Horsham on Friday.
She said Horsham could become a commute city to Melbourne.
“Some people want to live in a regional area, but still work in the city,” she said.
“A rail service from here to Melbourne would allow people to do that.
“I was at a conference here the other week, and there were three Melbourne families seriously looking to move to Horsham, because the lifestyle is far greater here than what they could offer their children in the city.
“One of the gentlemen said he could still do a couple of days of work in Melbourne if he could jump on the train to get there.
“How much easier would the decision to move here be if we had a train from Horsham to Melbourne?”
The plans to restore passenger rail services to western Victoria were also put forward to Victoria’s opposition leader Matthew Guy at a meeting on Thursday.
The rail alliance was represented by Horsham Rural City Council mayor Pam Clarke and chief executive Peter Brown, Ararat Rural City Council interim chief executive Colleen White and Southern Grampians Shire mayor Mary-Ann Brown and chief executive Michael Tudball.
Meeting convener Member of Lowan Emma Kealy also attended.
Cr Clarke said the response received from Mr Guy was pleasing.
“We got a really good hearing from him,” she said.
“Matthew Guy is a rail buff and he was really informed and switched on about what we are planning and how the tracks operate.
“He was very excited about the project.”
She said the meeting discussed the current stage of the project and the how the alliance received the necessary funding for the feasibility study.
Cr Clarke said the alliance would continue to advocate for the project to move forward.
She said the plans had progressed well through each politician the alliance had spoken to.
“We have to keep pushing ahead to get both sides of parliament to go ahead with the plans,” she said.
The project’s next stage was to get funding for a business plan detailing the work of crossings and upgrades to existing lines.
Stage one of the project had 19 passenger rail services added in Ararat on August 27.
The extra options allows for flexible travel to and from Ballarat and Melbourne.
Cr Clarke said the next step was to get extra bus services to Ararat to fit with the new train services available.