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Hundreds of people have lined the platform of Albury Railway Station to farewell former deputy prime minister Tim Fischer.
The heritage train carrying his coffin was welcomed into the station with a large round of applause by members of the public.
A military memorial was held on the platform by the Lockhart RSL to honour the Vietnam veteran, which was followed by a guard of honour for Mr Fischer's coffin.
The former Nationals leader, who died last week aged 73, will receive a state funeral in Albury this afternoon.
Earlier this morning about 80 people attended the railway station at The Rock in the New South Wales Riverina to say one last goodbye.
Some residents also gathered along the train line between The Rock and Albury to pay their respects.
The rail journey, which included Mr Fischer's home town of Boree Creek, was arranged by the Lachlan Valley Railway (LVR) and completes a trip Mr Fischer was unable to finish as his health deteriorated rapidly in recent weeks.
The life of 'once-in-a-generation politician' Tim Fischer
LVR director Ross Jackson said it was a surprise to hear his old friend had requested the journey on the heritage train, which features three CPH railmotors.
"Two of the cars actually serviced the Boree Creek line as part of passenger journeys, probably when Tim was a lot younger, but certainly synonymous with country branch line travel and country towns," Mr Jackson said.
"The saddest part about it is when I ran the cancer charity fundraiser tour back in July with Tim, Tim actually didn't get to make the trip back home, he had to rest.
"So now we have the opportunity to finish that journey with him."
Anne Martin was one of the many locals who came out to The Rock to say one last goodbye to a "genuine politician".
"[Tim Fischer was] a man of the people," she said.
"He used to come out and listen to what people had to say in the country."
Lockhart Shire Mayor Rodger Schirmer will travel to Albury today for the state funeral and said Mr Fischer always had the community's best interests in mind.
Mr Schirmer said the rail tribute was the perfect way to say goodbye.
"Tim was absolutely besotted by anything to do with trains and rail," he said.
"He will probably be listening to every clickety clack of the sleepers as he passes over them."
"His passing has created a tsunami, if you like, of not so much grief, but a huge wave of sadness over the community."
Mr Jackson paid tribute to the team of people who made today's train trip possible.
"People were working on the railmotors up until 11:00pm Tuesday to make sure everything is presentable," Mr Jackson said.
"It's not one person here, it's [everyone] who has gone absolutely all-out to ensure today is perfect.
"Mainline operators and other railways have also assisted us in getting this train going.
"I'd love to see a lot of people come out and wave to the train on the way through. That's what we're doing it for, to promote Tim's passion."
Mr Jackson said there was unlikely to cause any interruptions along the Sydney to Melbourne railway line.
"We're going to move out of the way once his coffin's removed for the XPT [passenger train] to come through in the other direction and the train will then take off and we'll follow the XPT home," he said.
St Matthew's Church, in the centre of Albury, will ring its bells for an hour until midday to honour Mr Fischer.
The bells will then be tolled 73 times before his coffin goes into the Albury Entertainment Centre, where his state funeral will begin at 1:00pm.
This article first appeared on www.abc.net.au
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