A WIMMERA Rail Services proposal to return passenger services to the region is gaining traction.
Greg and Tim Phillips say they could return train services on a daily basis between Horsham and Ararat “tomorrow” by capitalising on existing infrastructure.
The project would be delivered in three stages at a cost of $291.8 million.
They shared their proposal with the Wimmera Mail-Times last week as the masthead launched its campaign, Getting the Wimmera back on Track.
That proposal has since gained wider media attention along with support from the public and Wimmera politicians.
It comes amid a campaign driven by eight councils, called the Western Rail Project, calling for the return of passenger rail to the Wimmera.
Tim said a copy of their proposal had gone on to John Hearsch Consulting, who completed work for the Western Rail Project.
“We are in no way undermining (the Western Rail Project’s) hard work but we believe we can get services up and running a lot quicker and with less money,” he said.
“Our principal goal is to have passenger services reinstated. If we play a part and another operator comes on board then we’ve still achieved our goal.”
Greg said the first stage of the project would involve developing a maintenance facility in Horsham which could include 30 jobs with flow-on benefits to other businesses.
Wimmera Rail Services is lobbying for funding to develop a business case to advance the proposal.
Greg and Tim called on people supporting the return of passenger rail to share their views with politicians.