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Media Release

18/9/2000

Sprinter Service for Maryborough

The Public Transport Users Association in conjunction with Environment Victoria, attended the Maryborough Railway station on Sunday for the Antiques Market and Heritage Steam Train Day. The visit was to highlight the need for better public transport in the district. After the governments recently announced Fast Train services to Ballarat, local representatives and the community need to examine ways for residents in surrounding areas to benefit from the improved rail services to Melbourne.

"For residents of Maryborough, Talbot, Clunes and Creswick this could be achieved by returning a Sprinter service to Maryborough from Ballarat. The service could operate at least three times a day, giving the local community better access to the centres of Ballarat and Melbourne," said PTUA Representative Wendy Everingham.

"The response from the local community today has been overwhelming. The numbers of people who came up to the stall genuinely interested in the train service returning to Maryborough has been very positive. We underestimated the response from the public. By 1.30pm all our brochures were gone," commented Bronwin Machin, fellow campaigner from Environment Victoria.

The need for better public transport services was highlighted again and again by people who visited the stall.

" You are unable to get work in Ballarat or Bendigo if you don't have access to a car. The bus services are so infrequent and not even daily, " said one local resident. Another told Wendy Everingham of her daily trip to Melbourne for work. Leaving home at 5.45am to get the bus to Castlemaine and then the train to Melbourne and returning at 8.30pm each evening. This is over 5 hours of travel a day. A train connection to Ballarat and onto Melbourne would improve the journey considerably. A trip to Melbourne and back could be shortened to four hours a day if a sprinter service was introduced.

The case for a train service to be returned is strengthened because the rail infrastructure is already in place. Some upgrading would be necessary but the cost should not be prohibitive. National Express have recently announced that it is feasible to return passenger rail to Ararat. This strengthens the case for a passenger train to Maryborough. Both communities are very similar in size and needs.

"The local community must keep up their demands for the passenger rail service to be returned. Please continue to raise your ideas with your locally elected representatives. All Victorians should be able to benefit from the new rail initiatives," concluded Wendy Everingham.

Contacts:
PTUA Office 9650 7898

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Last Modified: 27 September 2000