I think the problem though is separating the "I want a railway line" with "I'll use the railway line". This was the problem with Leongatha - everyone wanted it but hardly anyone was using it. I'm more than happy to sign a petition to get the train back to Mildura - just can't see myself ever using it though!
And as I said (and you pointed out with past consists of The Overland) - if the patronage on that has dwindled considerably, what proof is there that the same won't have happened with The Vinelander?
I live in DONALD along with approx. 1600 people in the area. A lot of us really WANT and would USE passenger trains on our line as we don't live anywhere near Swan Hill or Mildura. We DONT have a plane service to catch. The day bus service from Donald is fine if you can sit in one spot for over 2 hours, and if you don't have small children to load on or are a person with a physical handicap. If you need to make a visit to the toilet well, the bus doesn't stop long enough anywhere to give you time to go. Not even Maryborough Station toilets are open. I know there is provision on the bus for such activities but really. Try getting clothes straightened with the bus rock and rolling you in a tiny space. I got heaps of bruises and I am not a large person. To catch the night bus from Mildura is a nightmare. First you have to fight your way to a seat, (after being told by the driver to find an empty seat) over sleeping bodies spread everywhere, who don't and wont move, even if they are on the seat you have been made to book. As for the cost. No one can show me where the rule is that says Public Transport has to be run at a profit. In fact I have read recently that VLine is a Not For Profit Government run organisation, I can suggest that even the buses are not run at a profit to VLine. What has happened to our Governments running a SERVICE for its people. NOT all travellers are concession holders as most correspondents seem to think. NOT everyone can drive a car to Melbourne and then fight and pay lots, to park it. This fight for the train is not just about Mildura, its for those people who live further down the line, to Ballarat!!!!! I am not winging, just stating the facts as I know them.. Also I did travel on the Vinelander regularly and remember the joy of my children in being able to do this to visit our family in Melbourne.