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A REGIONAL rail advocacy group will run the first passenger train to Dunolly in 37 years as it attempts to hold both the government and opposition to account for its rail commitments.
The Rail Revival Alliance will run a diesel electric rail motor from Newport to Ballarat, then on to Maryborough and ending at Dunolly before making a return trip. The journey will take place on October 13 and is open to the public.
The Coalition has promised to return passenger services to Dunolly, St Arnaud and Donald, while the Labor government has promised to reopen stations at Goornong and Raywood, and a new station at Huntly.
The Rail Revival Alliance ran a train from Maryborough to Geelong ahead of the last state election in 2014.
Group spokesperson Scott Ramsay said the trips were an opportunity to highlight the potential of regional rail and to campaign to extend the line from Dunolly to Mildura.
“We are expecting the government and opposition to honour their commitments to these regional towns,” he said.
“Why stop the passenger service at Dunolly when the other towns beyond Dunolly should be provided with a passenger service?”
The Dunolly line was shut in 1981 along with 35 other country stations, many of which were replaced with coach services.
Among the priorities of the Rail Revival Alliance is returning passenger services to regional centres Mildura, Horsham, Stawell, Hamilton and Leongatha.
Mr Ramsay said reopening small stations near Bendigo was welcome, but it was a small commitment compared to Victoria’s wider rail needs.
“These regional centres have populations far in excess of Goornong, Huntly and Raywood,” he said.
This article first appeared on www.bendigoadvertiser.com.au
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