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We are a group of dedicated members seeing if a Southern Cross to Mildura Heritage tour in 2016 is possible. Labour Day Weekend in March is the preferred option, as this weekend is when the Mildura Cup (Sunday 14th March) is held. This gives us the option to promote the train in newspapers with the race as it once was in 1974, where the race was sponsed by VicRail and the winner was awarded "The Vinelander Plate".
The trip will try to resemble the glory days of the Vinelander travelling as close as possible to the 90's timetable and route. The train itself will hopefully consist of a fleet of carriages from the early days to the 90's Vinelander. This including the recently restored Vinelander SJ Cars, some early Red Sleepers and Compartment S Cars for sit up passengers. It would be nice to add the Motorail carriage also, so we will be seeing if this is a option.
We will also try our best to keep ticket prices as low as possible, but unfortunately the cost of arranging this tour isn't cheap.
We will commence further discussion once we see the support out there. We would need approximately 150 paying passengers to make this possible. Discussion will be with Steamrail (majority of carriages, including Vinelander SJ Cars, Red Sleepers, S Cars), 707 operations (Vinelander SJ Car and Motorail), Seymour Rail (B74, S303 & SZ Sleeper) and V/Line (N457).
Other options proposed are:
- B74 board on front of loco supporting 'return of passenger' trains to Mildura. Examples above.
- B74 ribbon cutting at Southern Cross similar to the 1972 opening of The Vinelander. Ribbon example above.
- N457 "City of Mildura" naming ceremony again.
- Lunch / Afternoon tea at Maryborough on way back
- Race in Mildura Cup sponsored (similar to that in 1974) and awarded "The Vinelander Plate".
- Sponsored Mildura Show Bags/ handouts on arrival to Mildura.
- Media invited to Mildura Station for arrival of train Saturday Morning
- Ministers (local, state and federal) invited on train
- Saturday local 'shuttle' train trips from Mildura to Red Cliffs incorporating Red Cliff Steam Train trips
- Train in similar consist to the actual Vinelander
- Mildura Race Day free or reduced entry
- Mildura reduced accommodation for travellers via our website
- Promote heavily "return passenger services to Mildura" with support of North West Alliance.
- Free copy of local newspaper for all Sleeping berth and first class passengers
- Discount voucher to use in Mildura available on our website
- Dining Car (Murray) for Breakfast on Up trip, and Breakfast and Dinner on way back to Melbourne (This is an additional cost)
- Photos of glory days on display - location ??
The above is only ideas brought forward to us, if the event does go ahead none of the above are guaranteed to be part of tour.
Once tour is confirmed, all details over the weekend will became available.
We need as much help as possible, so please send us an email at VinelanderTour2016@gmail.com and we'll be in contact.
This article first appeared on vinelandertour2016.weebly.com
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