The railway line between Maryborough and Castlemaine turns 140 this year and parts of it look every day of it. Decaying sleepers better suited to firewood than fast trains, flood-wracked foundations and rusted rail bridges pockmark the 55-kilometre line, which has been fallow for the past 10 years.
On Sunday a gang of 50 rail enthusiasts will pay homage to the derelict line, and have hired a heritage diesel train to ride from Melbourne to Maryborough on a cross-country route via Geelong and Ballarat.
The meandering joy ride is a celebration of rail heritage with a political message many in Spring Street would prefer not to hear.
The four-hour journey is meant to demonstrate that those quiet regional rail lines are fit for the return of passenger trains, just like the Coalition promised it would plan for at the last election.
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