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It's time to get on board for Western Rail

11 July 2017

An advocacy campaign to bring passenger rail services back to Western Victoria has been launched in Stawell today.

The campaign supports the findings of the Grampians Barwon South West Passenger Services Cost and Feasibility study, developed by eight Victorian Councils earlier this year, aiming to reinstate reliable and frequent passenger rail services to the west of the state.

Horsham Rural City Council Mayor Cr Pam Clarke said the project group had been buoyed by the recent announcement of funding for regional rail.

“We’ve had some productive and promising conversations with key politicians who have been receptive to the findings of the study,” Cr Clarke said.

“We’ve been very forthright in reminding them that passenger services in Western Victoria are the worst in the state and that we need that to change.”

“The study launched earlier this year found that passenger rail services can and should be reinstated to both Horsham and Hamilton, and that the railway between Ballarat and Ararat should be converted from broad to standard gauge to facilitate this.
“Councils involved in this campaign are all passionate about seeing better passenger rail services for their communities to improve social, education, and health outcomes,” Cr Clarke said.

Southern Grampians Shire Council Mayor Cr Mary-Ann Brown called on the public to get on board.

“It’s time now for our residents to help us advocate for the funding to undertake this important work,” Cr Brown said.

“We need everyone’s help to show both levels of government that we need passenger rail services reinstated and the many positive outcomes it will provide to our communities.

“We heard from a number of people at our launch today that will benefit greatly from the return of passenger rail. We know that their stories are not unique and that many others have faced the same challenges and frustrations when accessing public transport options in our part of the state.

“It’s going to take a whole-of-community approach to get this done and we hope people will get on board with this campaign and help us make this happen by liking and sharing the Western Rail Facebook page, and the updates as they come.

“A list of government contacts is available on the Western Rail website and we encourage everyone to write to the appropriate contacts and express their support for the project,” Cr Brown said.

In addition to the return of passenger rail, the report found significant opportunity to improve the timetabling and quality of coach services to enhance community access, reduce travel times, provide opportunities for the tourism market (particularly to the Grampians), connect people from the Wimmera and Central Highlands to the coast and better connect cities like Horsham, Hamilton, Ararat and Ballarat to south-east South Australia.

More information on Western Rail and how to support the campaign can be found at the website –

Media enquiries

Horsham Rural City Council
Amy Rhodes, Media and Communications Officer
5382 9763

Southern Grampians Shire Council
Alison Quade, Strategic Communications Coordinator
5573 0433

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