Victoria Minister for Public Transport Terry Mulder
Bill Tilley Benambra MLA
Communities Welcome V/Line Trains Back To The Border
Victor P Taffa
Communities from Seymour to Albury welcomed the return of V/Line trains back to the border, in a move that will see a boost to the region’s tourism, Minister for Public Transport Terry Mulder said today.
Officially opening the new Wodonga Station, Mr. Mulder said it was an historic occasion not only for Albury and Wodonga, but also for north-eastern Victoria and southern New South Wales that have been without V/Line passenger trains since November 2008.
“This has been a long time coming for Seymour, Avenel, Euroa, Violet Town, Benalla, Wangaratta, Springhurst, Chiltern and Albury / Wodonga, but railway stations in those towns will start to see local V/Line passenger trains again from tomorrow.” Mr. Mulder said.
“This is also great for the many other towns connected to the railway line by coaches.”
In opening the new station, Mr Mulder thanked the Federal Government and Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC) for joining with the Victorian Government to fund the $612.8 Million upgrade to the Albury / Wodonga rail line. He also acknowledged the work of the South Improvement Alliance, Dhudhuroa Native Title Group, Mungabareena Aboriginal Corporation and Wodonga City Council.
A special train departed Melbourne this morning at 7am, picking up community representatives at Seymour. The train then stopped at Benalla and Wangaratta for about half an hour for small ‘welcome back’ events and picked up more local guests before travelling to the new Wodonga station opening at midday.
Three special shuttle trains also ran today between Wodonga and Albury stations to give Border residents the chance to experience the service that will officially start from tomorrow morning.
From tomorrow (Sunday 26 June), V/Line will run two trains per day, the first leaving Albury at 6:35 am and the second to leave Melbourne at 12 noon. Two return coach services will continue to operate until a second train returns in August and the remaining third train each way returns in November this year.
Member for Benambra Bill Tilley said the return of V/Line trains would be warmly welcomed by the community.
“The community has been waiting a long time for this to happen.” Mr. Tilley said.
“By the end of the year there will be three return V/Line trains and two Countrylink XPT trains for local residents and visitors to travel to places such as Albury, Seymour or Melbourne.”
“The importance of a good, frequent train service to local tourism can’t be understated, so there are many businesses and attractions in the region set to benefit as we get more trains back on the line.” Mr. Tilley said.
The five refurbished train carriages on each service will have about 370 seats. For the first time, provision has been made for the carriage of bikes in a renovated van.
“Bicycle tourism is one area that is growing significantly in the Wangaratta and Benalla areas in particular. By having the option to easily travel by train more people are likely to visit.” Mr. Mulder said.
V/Line General Manager of Marketing & Stakeholder Relations, Paul Matthews, said the rail operator was excited about supporting tourism and events in the region as trains continue to return throughout the year.
“North-eastern Victoria features some of Victoria’s most spectacular natural tourist attractions, is well-supported by good food, wine and accommodation and features unique rail trails for cyclists that connect well to trains.” Mr. Matthews said.
“We think there’s some great potential to boost tourism from Melbourne over time.”
Mr. Matthews reminded passengers that the old Wodonga station closed last night (Friday 24 June) and all train and coach services will operate out of the new Wodonga station at Carroll Lane from this morning (Saturday 25 June).
The new station brings expanded car parking, new seating and toilet facilities and significantly more modern facilities for Wodonga passengers.